Notes from recent Relatives meetings
We hold relatives meetings at Askham every few months to update on what has been taking place within Askham Village Community and to give all family members the opportunity to raise any questions they may have. We find these meetings a useful forum for discussion on a number of areas. Notes from our recent meetings are below.
21st October 2020
19th June 2020
Previous meeting minutes will be added in due course.
Notes from Relatives meeting held on 21st October
Staff: ABN, PM, JM, KW
Relatives: Andrew Dawson, Paul Mossman, Trevor Amis, William Godfrey, Iain, Elissa McDonald, Diana Lefevre, Anne Appleby, Alan Friend, Rosemary Scott, Sue Kightly, Bob Clutterbuck
We are pleased to confirm Askham remains to have had zero Covid cases among residents thus far. We are very proud of all the staff who have been working tremendously hard to ensure that all at Askham stay safe.
PPE: We have a good supply of PPE on site and staff are using it well. It has become the norm now for temperature checking on arrival and masks to be worn at all times. We have had some scenarios where staff have been exposed t the virus and we are pleased to say that thus far our PPE has protected any transmission into the homes. Of course nobody is perfect and we need to guard against complacency but we take heart in the fact that our infection control policies are effective.
Testing: We are participating in the DHSC weekly testing regime and the majority of staff are testing on a weekly basis. We find this reassuring to identify any asymptomatic cases amongst the staff group that need to be addressed.
Staff and training update
We have said already, but we’ll say again, how immensely proud we are of the staff working at Askham. Thank you also for all your kind words of support and encouragement – these mean a lot and whenever we receive feedback this is shared across the team.
Training: continues to take place remotely so we can stay on top o all mandatory and additional training, but do so in a safe manner.
Recruitment: we are comfortable with staff numbers at the current time but are looking forward to benefitting from a number of competent, compassionate people who may look to enter the care sector in coming weeks. As always, we welcome any recommendations or referrals for people you know who may be looking for work – often our best recruits are those who come to us via word of mouth.
We are aware that the current policy of no visiting for relatives is hard on families and on our residents, and we are all too conscious of the trade offs we make between physical and mental health. We are working with the National Care Forum and with other care homes to explore avenues to enable visiting to take place safely, including the option of extending our testing programme to include designated family members who can then safely access the home. This is early stage thinking but we hope to have some updates in due course. Would those attending the meeting be happy to participate in any testing programmes for visitors? Overall, yes. Any adjustments to visitors policy will take heed of the fact that our residents vary in their mobility and not all can make it outside or even to another indoor room on site.
[Note: visitors policy has been revised since the meeting, see below]
We are working extra hard to ensure there are plenty of activities going on across the homes at all times. We have had a new joiner to the team as well to help enable this. Coming up in the next little while we have a busy fortnight with Halloween, Fireworks night, and Diwali. Lots of arts and crafts taking place around the homes alongside the regular clubs such as cooking club. Individual time is also being spent with those who choose not to or are not able to participate in the group activities.
We are conscious that Christmas will soon be upon us and we are hoping to be able to allow some form of visiting nearer to Christmas to enable families to greet each other during the festive season. More details will be available as they become clear. We also welcome any videos or any images of family members that you would like to share with residents so we can play them/ show them to the relevant resident. These can be emailed through to firstname.lastname@example.org where Kerrie can pick them up and do the needful.
Visiting and family is a huge part of Christmas and we are sorry that we will not be able to invite you all to Askham for the usual carols and mince pies, however we are exploring options for a virtual replacement. More to follow soon we hope. Meanwhile, residents are busy with preparing decorations and staff are looking forward to our annual ‘best dressed home’ competition.
Thank you to everyone for their patience and perseverance with managing through these tough times.
Notes will be shared for this meeting and previous meetings that have not been received.
Updates on visiting policy since the meeting
From 16th November we are pleased to be able to welcome pre-booked visits of upto 20 minutes. Please note the following guidelines:
- Visits are to be booked with the Lead Nurse of the relevant unit
- The visitors briefing document (available here) must be signed on arrival
- Visits will not be restricted to a specific day, but will be at the Lead Nurse discretion so as to manage total numbers and ensure cleaning can be undertaken satisfactorily
- Visits will take place in designated areas only. Note: This is a change from previous policy where relatives could visit downstairs bedrooms through the external door. This is not permitted at this time.
- On arrival, visitors are asked to go directly to the relevant area. Please do not arrive more than 5 minutes before your scheduled visit.
- Designated areas are as follows and have been selected on the basis of having different doors for residents / relatives:
- Askham Court: Sensory room [please use the entrance from the courtyard]
- Askham Grove: Downstairs red lounge [please use the entrance from the back of Grove, follow the path round]
- Askham Hall: Function Suite [please use the entrance from the courtyard]
- Askham House: Downstairs dining room [please use the entrance from the garden, accessed through the courtyard]
- Askham Place: Conservatory [please use the entrance from the courtyard behind the laundry]
- Designated areas have been set up with screens and wipe clean chairs at a suitable distance for the safety of all
- We ask all visitors to wear a face mask and use the hand sanitiser available on arrival.
- Toilets and café facilities will not be available for visitors
- We regret that refreshments will not be available
Any resident who may need special arrangements outside of this policy to facilitate visits will need to be addressed on a case by case basis. If you think this applies to you, please liase with the Manager and a risk assessed approach to visiting will be explored.
Notes from Relatives meeting held on 19th June 2020
Askham status update:
We have so far had no confirmed cases of Covid-19 at Askham; thanks in large part to the diligence of staff. At our peak we had ~15% of staff off, but this has come down now to ~5%. We have been incredibly lucky and our staff have been amazing throughout this period.
New admissions continue to be tested and confirmed negative before admission to the homes. We are barrier nursing for 14 days as an additional precaution.
We recently had our CQC telephone inspections in line with the Emergency Support Framework. Both Jo and Priscilla found these to be positive conversations and our regulator has been very happy with all the actions being taken at Askham.
The partnership working taking place between Askham and the Local Authority / CCG has been brilliant. Our Infection Control Lead for the county has been an enormous support.
We are working with a local lab who are able to provide us with on site testing for staff and residents as frequently as we require it, and with results being returned within 24 hours. We are not testing all residents routinely as the swabbing process is not pleasant and many residents have been on site consistently with very little exposure outside. If you would like to speak to us about testing your resident, please do reach out.
We are expecting to receive the Infection Control grant from the government to support us with the additional costs of managing the risk of transmission. There are strict guidelines over what this can and can not be used for – it is focused on supporting staff during this period. It cannot be used to cover the cost of PPE such as masks – which has been a large unplanned spend for us.
For every week of barrier nursing it costs us >£200 per week in additional costs, and for the normal use of masks as per Public Health England guidance it is costing >£70 per week. We are in discussions with the Local Authority to understand how we can make this sustainable.
We will keep this under review based on guidance and our own risk assessment. We would like to start to facilitate outdoor visits for relatives in a safe manner for all in line with the below principles:
- Visits to be by appointment during the below times for each Home
- Visitors to sign the brief on arrival and be accompanied by a staff member
- Two visitors (from the same household) for any resident at any one time
- Maximum of 20 minutes per visit and repeat visits to be scheduled only if time permits; initially we will prioritise to ensure all have the opportunity
- Meeting to take place outside in the grounds of Askham, in a space accessible by the resident – either from the external doors to their rooms or as directed by the staff for residents on upper floors
- 2m distance to be maintained at all times; mask to be worn just in case the 2m distance is reduced by accident
We will stagger the commencement of this policy in order to ensure we can manage it safely and take learnings on board.
From 22nd June the following visiting hours will apply
- Hall: Monday 2.30pm to 4.30pm and Thursday 10.30am to 12.30pm
- Place: Wednesday 2.30pm to 4.30pm
- Court: Thursday 2.30pm to 4.30pm
From 29th June the following visiting hours will apply in addition to the above
- House: Tuesday 2.30pm to 4.30pm and Thursday 2.30pm to 4.30pm
- Grove: Friday 2.30pm to 4.30pm and Tuesday 10.30am to 12.30pm
We acknowledge that an outdoor visit may not be practical for some and we will keep assessing for when indoor visits may be workable. We cannot confirm a timeline for this but we are aware this is the natural next step when it is safe enough to do so.
Healthcare professionals who need to see residents, wherever possible are still working through zoom or are being restricted. The risk they bring is higher due to being in contact with a high number of homes or hospital settings and hence we are continuing to work with them remotely as far as we can.
We thank all relatives for their patience and support, and we hope that this is the beginning of a sustainable next phase. If there is a need, we may need to suspend visiting again. If this is required we will communicate accordingly.
The activities team, and indeed all staff, have been working hard to keep spirits high across the site and have been doing a wonderful job within each home. Various cooking and gardening activities taking place among arts and crafts, singing and dancing.
For copies of previous meetings, please liase with your Manager as these can be made available to you on request.