We are well into the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK, and following Tier 1 restrictions, now find ourselves in tighter lockdown. We are still feeling very fortunate to have kept all of our clients free from the symptoms of Covid throughout this challenging year, and cannot praise our fantastic staff team enough for their continued diligence, commitment and hard work. Staff have been working extra hard to cover each other’s shifts. Agency staff usage is now very low anyway, but with the isolation of staff, staffing numbers have been hit at times. Rather than use any agency staff where we perceive there to be added risk of cross infection with their other work places, where possible we have adjusted down staffing maintaining safety, and covered shifts between our larger bubble between the 5 houses.
Our team leaders have been excellent at continuously adjusting the rota as team members need to isolate at the last minute, battling to get our staff in and safe, and the virus out.
Our trustworthy teams across all the houses have continued to be transparent about their symptoms early on, and have isolated accordingly helping to prevent the potential spread of the virus into the houses. Staff are now regularly testing, although we have struggled to be granted the testing kits that care homes have been able to access, though this seems to be a struggle experienced throughout the supported living sector with other providers. We may now be getting somewhere with procuring testing kits for weekly client tests and staff tests, meaning that our staff will no longer need to head to community testing stations themselves, which has been so awkward and time consuming for them. Louise our Service Manager has been patient and persistent and may soon get these testing kits. Fingers crossed.
It really is terrible that we have not been able to get any of our clients tested at home as yet through the NHS, but again we are grateful that they have been symptom-free so far.
We are now actively working on acquiring Vitamin D supplements, and some clients have started taking them. As the days close in approaching winter, the need is even stronger to maintain Vitamin D levels to support the immune system. Some GP surgeries are forthcoming to prescribe them, and other not. It is a lottery and we will buy them in as necessary and support clients to take them subject to assessments for any contraindications.
We release today a supporting document laying out the case to provide Vitamin D supplements as a matter of urgency to assist our team leaders struggling to get it prescribed, or even advice on the contraindication conflicts with their usual medication.
Work is underway adjusting menus to optimise the immune system too, with advice from our consultant Iain Clague.
We are totally committed to keeping our teams supported and safe with whatever measures we can implement. We are confident we will get through this challenging time, and have faith in our team to remain vigilant and keep our valued clients safe and well. Birthday celebrations go on with Zoom and Skype to loved ones. Cooking, housekeeping, hobbies, pastimes and fun go on..supported living continues!