Keeping your loved ones safe in the face of a pandemic.
On the 23rd March 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic forced a UK lockdown—a government-imposed ban on any movement inside the country and the closing of all nonessential businesses—as a way of keeping people safe and in an attempt to reduce the rate at which this disease spreads.
The broader impacts of a pandemic are gargantuous for any business, but for an organisation such as care homes and hospitals—whose primary responsibility is to protect their people—
the required adjustments to manage and contain such a threat to human life can feel overwhelming.
With those over 70 years of age carrying an increased risk of dying from the virus, and those 80, even more so, dementia care homes certainly have their work cut out for them, with most residents falling within the vulnerable age categories. A further challenge for both care home managers and carers is helping those with dementia to understand the severity of the pandemic and the need for strict measures, without causing alarm or triggering a state of alert.
What protective measures should dementia care homes be taking?
Like any organisation that employs or houses large volumes of people, business have both a morale-based and Government-led obligation to make alterations to process and procedures to help reduce the community-spread of the virus, and by flattening the curve, reduce fatalities by buying our NHS time to treat, and scientists time to learn and create a vaccine, but what extensive measures should care homes be taking?
Here, Leaf shares the vital measures that care homes should be taking to keep their dementia care residents and staff safe:
• No Visitors Policy
Until the Government lifts restrictions, there should be no external visitors to dementia care homes. Encourage contact with residents through video-chats.
• Staff Tracking
It can prove lifesaving to Keep a daily log of where staff have been and who they have been in contact with
• Social Distancing
All residents that travel throughout the care home should be asked to social distance, following social distancing guidelines, and monitored by care home staff.
• Barrier Nursing
Care duties (where possible) should be completed within social distancing guidelines
• Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
All staff should be provided with PPE to help protect them and those around them, supported by weekly training that includes updates on PPE along with staff support options.
• Health Checks on Residents and Staff
Recording and monitoring any coronavirus-based symptoms. Those that present with symptoms should abide by self-isolation Government guidelines.
• Reducing Team Sizes
Where more than one carer is needed to complete a specific task, carers should be mindful of operating in groups as small as they can, with as much distance between people as possible.
• Testing and reduction of risk
Advocating for testing of residents or persons who are showing symptoms so we can prevent spread of the disease and ensure isolation is managed before the spread of the disease in the community and within the care homes
How to stay connected when your loved one is in care
During this challenging time, and where residents are isolated from family and friends as a means of protecting them, residents are exposed to further challenges that include anxiety, depression, and deflation; It will be helpful for them to know that their new ordinary is temporary and that they are not alone. There are uplifting things that you can do to stay connected with your loved ones that include phone calls, video calls, texting, sending scrapbooks, or sharing photos.
The daughter of a resident here a Leaf Care Dementia Homes recently shared, ‘I have attached the Life History work for Mum. Mum filled out a memory book a few years ago, so much of the content used is her memories that I have copied from the memory book. Thank you for organising the video calls with Mum, they are a life-line for her and us while all this is going on’—Wonderful evidence of actions that can make a world of difference.
What support is available?
Leaf currently has five available residential rooms situated out on the wing of the care home. These rooms can be used to isolate residents that are worried about symptoms or can be available for your person with dementia if currently living with you at home. The rooms can be utilised to support families that are caring for a loved one, should the carer need some respite, or become unwell themselves with Coronavirus symptoms and require time to recuperate while keeping others safe. Located in the countryside, our care home creates a sense of haven for our residents. If you would like to make a room enquiry, please call us on 01603 618111.
If your loved one is a resident with Leaf Care, you can remain involved in their care via our client portal on Care Control. If you have any concerns or questions about your loved one, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01603 618111. Please be patient with us as we are currently receiving a high number of calls and emails. We will respond to your query as soon as possible.
If you are interested in volunteering to support our key workers, please email email@example.com. *You will be asked a series of questions to enable us to screen for COVID-19. You can find further information on the Coronavirus here