Safety and wellbeing during this pandemic

April 14, 2020

Clifden House has thus far, remained free of coronavirus, thanks to the diligence of the brilliant team, and the fact that we made the difficult decision to stop all visitors – for the moment.

We care for residents as if they were in our own family home. We have worked really hard to keep residents engaged and happy with all sorts of social interaction, including virtual group activities with their families, bingo, singing and quizzes. We are also sharing photos from families with residents.

After seeing what happened elsewhere in Europe we went into preparation mode early on. Although older people make the majority of care home residents and fall into the category of the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, the precautions and procedures put in place have helped during this outbreak.

We kept two beds free to facilitate full quarantine if needed and decided not to admit additional residents unless it was 100% safe. We also sourced PPE independently. We have hand sanitisers at every turn in and outside the home and ensure our residents enjoy being outside in our garden as much as possible.

Our team at Clifden House, as with most care homes, have experience in infection control and dealing with similar viruses such as flu and the norovirus. If a resident shows any symptoms of COVID-19, isolation precautions are put in place in the same way as if they had influenza. We are well-versed in controlling viral infections and have procedures in place to protect other residents.

Additionally, our single rooms and separate bathrooms can help residents and staff manage temporary periods of isolation if required, further adding to infection control.

As per NHS guidance, additional focus has been put on hygiene, particularly washing hands. As always, staff routinely wash their hands and frequently use hand sanitiser and immediately bin used tissues. Surfaces are frequently cleaned and personal waste securely disposed of.

We have has put in place a number of measures to protect residents, staff and their families. These include:

  • Increased cleaning schedules across the home.
  • Refreshed infection control training with all staff
  • Increased signage to remind staff to follow good handwashing techniques and the use of alcohol-based gel on arrival and departure from the home.
  • Switched to sachets instead of communal bottles in dining areas.
  • Communicated with staff and volunteers about the importance of self-isolating, and reassured staff that they will receive full pay if required to self-isolate.

Along with precautionary measures taken, the benefit of social interaction remains in care homes and residents can still take part in the wide range of activities available to them. These activities can greatly boost residents’ overall well-being, particularly when restrictions on visiting have been implemented.

We have reviewed visiting policies to reduce social interaction and adhere to social distancing recommendations to protect the health and safety of residents, while also allowing visits in exceptional circumstances and after health and temperature checks.

Recognising the positive impact of seeing family and friends, we are doing our best to facilitate phone and video calls and other methods of keeping in touch.