Info For Rotherwood People – Colleagues
Lots of you are asking about how we as a group are responding to the Coronavirus. Please be assured that we are in liaison with the local authorities and following the national guidance which is released daily. Please find below some of the most important information to help you to understand how we at Rotherwood Healthcare are responding to Coronavirus:
- It was announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson that as of Friday 20/03/2020, schools will be closed for most pupils for the foreseeable future. The Prime Minister explained that we still need to ensure that essential services can continue to operate, such as Care Homes, NHS and other essential services. Prime Minister Johnson has therefore suggested that schools remain open for “Key workers”, which will then allow these key workers to continue to carry out their essential work.
- As you are all key workers and play an essential part of the safe operation of our care homes you will need to liaise with your children’s schools accordingly to ensure that they are aware that you are in the Essential Worker category. We will be sending you all letters to confirm that you are an employee of a Nursing Home to support you to do this.
How care homes can minimise the risks of transmission
- The National Guidance states that to minimise the risk of transmission, care home providers are advised to review their visiting policy, by asking no one to visit who has suspected COVID-19 or is generally unwell, and by emphasising good hand hygiene for visitors. Contractors on site should be kept to a minimum.
- We took the decision on Friday 13th March to temporarily suspend non-essential visiting to all our homes. This decision was not made lightly but is felt to be in the best interest of our residents and colleagues in promoting their safety and wellbeing. Each home has now been supplied with two tablet devices and these have been set up to facilitate Skype Video calling to residents’ loved ones. This is being arranged using a booking form so that we can ensure this is managed well and all relatives have fair access.
- We do have a policy in place for managing external contractors coming on site which may be essential for ensuring the homes continue operate.
- Our housekeeping team have been tasked with increasing the cleaning and sanitising across the homes, focusing on high contact areas, such as door handles, bannisters, key codes etc.
- There is no need to take the temperatures of staff at the beginning or during their shift and temperatures should only be taken if the staff member is feeling unwell.
If a resident has symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
- The National Guidance states that care homes are not expected to have dedicated isolation facilities for people living in the home but should implement isolation precautions when someone in the home displays symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the same way that they would operate if an individual had influenza. If isolation is needed, a resident’s own room can be used. Ideally the room should be a single bedroom with en suite facilities.
- All staff will be trained in hand hygiene. Much of the care delivered in care homes will require close personal contact. Where a resident is showing symptoms of COVID-19, steps should be taken to minimise the risk of transmission through safe working procedures. Staff should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as washing and bathing, personal hygiene and contact with bodily fluids. Aprons, gloves and masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
- New PPE must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that used PPE is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag when full. Each home will be guided by the Home Manager as and when a resident is suspected of having COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
- Clean frequently touched surfaces. Personal waste (such as used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being disposed of as normal.
- Do not shake dirty laundry – this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air. Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Items heavily soiled with body fluids, such as vomit or diarrhea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.
Wearing personal protective equipment
- The National Guidance states that if neither the care worker nor the individual receiving care and support is symptomatic, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices. If an individual receiving care has suspected Coronavirus, then they will be isolated to their room and care workers will be expected to implement barrier nursing. PPE such as aprons, gloves will be required as standard.
- There is no need to wear face masks if either yourself or those around you are fit and well, and in many situation when working with people who are living with a dementia, to see staff with face masks will be frightening and unnecessary
General interventions may include increased cleaning activity to reduce risk of retention of virus on hard surfaces, and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.
What do you do if you suspect you have COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) are recent onset of:
- new continuous cough and/or
- high temperature
For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness. The current guidance for how to manage if you or a member of your household, by household we mean other individuals whom live within your home are:
- if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
- if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then then you must stay at home for 7days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
- for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14-day isolation period.
- it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
- if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
- if you have coronavirus symptoms:
- do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
- you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
- testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
- plan and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home and consider what can be done for vulnerable people in the household
- ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home
- wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
- if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999
It is important that should you be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or must self-isolate because a member of your household has symptoms, that you notify the homes as soon as possible to enable them to arrange cover.
Whilst the guidance for self-isolation if as detailed above, please be aware that this guidance has changed over the last week and it likely to be subject to change. We will advise you of this as and when we can according to the National Guidance
Will I be paid if I must self-isolate?
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by coronavirus. Day 1 is your next working day.
- Any other sickness will be eligible for SSP from day 4.
- To make it easier for people to provide evidence that they need to stay at home, the government are developing an alternative form of evidence to the fit note. These will shortly be available through NHS online. No evidence is required for the first 7 days of sickness (you can self-certify).
- If you choose to self-isolate where neither you nor anyone in your household have any symptoms of coronavirus, you are unlikely to qualify for SSP.
Will I be paid if the schools close?
- Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a ‘dependent’) in an unexpected event or emergency. This would apply to situations related to coronavirus (COVID-19). For example:
- if they have children they need to look after or arrange childcare for because their school has closed
- to help their child or another dependent if they’re sick, or need to go into isolation or hospital
There’s no statutory right to pay for this time off.
Finally, we appreciate that this is a worrying time for everyone. The National guidance is changing frequently, and we will keep you all as updated as we possibly can. If you have any concerns, questions or issues directly related to Coronavirus please email firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to write to every member of our team to first and foremost say thank you; thank you for all your efforts and hard work, thank you for the support you’re offering each other and, most importantly of all, the support you continue to offer to our residents, their families and friends. Thank you also for remaining a valuable member of our team in such incredible times.
Personally I don’t think anyone ever saw something like this coming and, as a result, we are all, to some extent or other, finding our way through it. I wanted to take this opportunity to assure you that you have my absolute support and backup and that together we’ll come through this. I believe that we are in a much better position than many others as we were able to anticipate the possible problems early and have, for instance, purchased our own Oxygen Concentrators along with many other essential items which will ensure that we can continue to offer the same high levels of care to our residents.
That being said, if you need anything, anything at all, whether that be support, answers to questions, kit or equipment please, please ask. Regarding kit and equipment please rest assured that we’re working hard to ensure that all essential items remain available to you but if you spot something falling into short supply I encourage you to shout up. Let us know as soon as you can via: email@example.com. If we know about it already, then good; but if we don’t, then great! Your noticing that shortfall and letting us know about it will mean we can act fast and start locating and buying it in. It also means we can check with your colleagues at our other homes and make sure they’re stocked up too.
Please remember this, your committed work remains at the heart of all we do at Rotherwood Healthcare and we will continue to strive to offer a new standard in healthcare. Our Values of compassion, caring, polite, kind and respect will, I believe, continue to guide us day-to-day as we work through this situation together.
Once again I thank you most sincerely for all you are doing. Keep up the great work and remember to talk to us as / when you need to.
CEO, Rotherwood Healthcare