Statement from Managing Director, Linda Wrout, regarding Sycamore Care Centre
We have created a WhatsApp group for families/next of kin to inform you of our Covid-19 updates and information as quickly and clearly as possible. The type of information that we will post is what you would openly read on our notice boards inside the home and will never contain any personal information of residents, families or staff.
PLEASE NOTE: If you choose not to receive this information by WhatsApp then please delete the contact.
As we move through the winter months, Coronavirus shows no signs of abating with most of the country under tier 3 restrictions and we must live with it as best we can, everyones life has dramatically changed. From the onset of the first wave we implemented a comprehensive contingency plan with our immediate priority of protecting our residents and staff as paramount while being sympathetic to the duty of care we also have for their families and loved ones. We have worked together as a team, often in difficult situations but with great determination and strong leadership and had come through the second wave clear of Coronavirus until a week ago when one resident and one member of staff tested positive. We subsequently tracked the breach to the residents relative who, unknown to us at the time had Coronavirus while window visiting and not only had the window open but was touching the relative through the window…
What we did:
- Suspended visiting altogether in that area.
- All staff prior to this breach tested negative, we tested them again on the day of the breach they all tested negative apart from one. We sent the staff member home to isolate the resident had already been admitted to hospital. All remaining residents were negative. We tested everyone again this week and residents and staff are all again negative.
- We immediately decontaminated the area with fogging machines and have done this everyday since then and included the whole of SCC.
- We installed an air steriliser which works to kill any of the virus in the air over 24/7
- We took regular observations of residents who had been in proximity in the days that followed.
- We notified the Health Protection Agency.
With our immediate response times and the measures we had put in place, we were cautiously optimistic that we had stopped the Coronavirus before it had spread as no-one else either resident or staff currently have the virus or display any symptoms. However, today, we have been informed by the Health Protection Agency that because there were two people who tested positive, we are now categorised as having an “Outbreak” and must remain in lock down with no inside visits for 28 days from 12/12/2020 until 09/01/2021, there is nothing we can do to change this decision.
I am so sorry to bring you this news just before the Christmas visits you have been so looking forward to, if there was anything I could do to change this I would do it. We had everything prepared for your inside visiting which included staff training on Lateral Flow tests, an online software system to manage the bookings, plenty of PPE and had coordinated extra staff to work over the Christmas period. As the Covid -19 pandemic continues, we are constantly having to adapt and make the best of each situation, while Christmas won’t be the same, we will do everything we can to ensure your relatives have an enjoyable time full of compassion and care. On December the 25th it will Christmas Day for everyone, including our incredibly hard-working staff and we will celebrate the best way that we can.
Other things we are doing:
- We have built outside safe visiting pods across our homes which will allow families to visit our residents in comfort instead of families being outside, they have two separate doors to enter, a partitioned glass screen which means each side can talk to each other safely.
- We prevent cross contamination between our homes and those outside by transporting staff in our own minibus to reduce the contamination of the use of public transport, staff change into clean uniform on arrival, we stopped the use of agency staff who would normally cross over 2 or 3 homes at a time, stopped all our own staff crossing over between homes, keeping them to one home or one building only, some staff working from home, carrying out meetings via Zoom.
- We also invested in Covipro fogging machines and air sanitisers, as well as conducting regimented infection control measures in all our homes, weeks even before the first lockdown.
- Staff are screened by temperature and symptom check before they start each shift and sent home to isolate immediately if there is any doubt over presenting symptoms with immediate effect and all staff are routinely tested every week and sometimes twice a week to ensure the most up to date picture of our homes Covid-19 status.
- We are currently working to ensure the vaccination programme is implemented across our homes in line with the Government roll out and will update you accordingly.
~At this point I would like to say “Thank You” to all our residents, their families and friends who have shown such patience, understanding and support during these difficult times~
Warmest wishes for faith, hope and peace this Christmas season🎄
Linda Ann Wrout