Keeping calm and carrying on through COVID-19

Updated 3/11/2020

We have broken down our steps to how we’re preventing COVID-19 – the document is available here: 10 steps to our COVID-19 policy. We also have our 15 steps to our infection policy here.

We would like to thank our amazing staff for their dedication, constant care and love towards our residents and their colleagues and their outstanding contribution to infection control measures.

We are now months into the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic and here at Milford Care our staff continue to be dedicated and professional and are amazing in supporting our residents. We are so proud of every one of them. To manage the situation as best we can, we have appointed COVID-19 leads, Kara Gratton and Jim Watt, who are continually following the guidance from Public Health England, (now named National Institute of Health Protection), Infection Control Teams, CQC and GOV.UK. They are carefully implementing additional measures that we feel we can do to protect our residents, staff and visiting professionals. 

To also check that we’re always on the right page, Milford Care homes have an annual external audit where all our policies and the homes are inspected against health and safety law and MC very high standards. All our homes have consistently scored ‘excellent’ at their annual audit.

We are pleased to see that the world is starting to reopen although that makes us a little nervous at Milford Care as we want to do our best to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. We are supporting our staff with up to date information on what to do when they are away from work or go on holiday and gentle reminders that they are frontline workers.

All Milford Care staff who work in the care homes will now be tested for Coronavirus on a weekly basis. The government have also announced that all care home residents will be offered a monthly swab to test for Coronavirus.

Milford Care homes (Spencer GroveMilford HouseThe MeadowsHazelgroveBuddleia House and Ashbourne Lodge) recognise the importance of our residents being able to see their families and vice versa. We now have dedicated outdoor visiting areas in our gardens. Social distancing is adhered to and families are asked to wear face coverings to protect their relative. Families can call the care home and book a visit and our staff will do everything possible to facilitate a lovely visit. It has been heart-warming to see smiles, tears of happiness and lots of joy although sadly no hugging (just yet). Relatives of our residents who are sadly at end of life, very unwell or the manager deems necessary, will be allowed to visit and PPE will be provided in the meantime. We are open to new admissions but these are managed very carefully.  

Our residents are being very understanding and doing what they can to support the Government’s suggestions and are social distancing. They are washing their hands and those that need support are assisted by staff to wash their hands. 

Our staff have gone above and beyond to maximise our residents’ safety. We have now restructured our lounge areas to form smaller ‘households’, with much smaller and fixed groups of residents and staff spending time together, separated from others. This also applies to mealtimes. Mealtimes are served with smaller groups to minimise risk and are spread out across the room. 

Milford Care have invested in a company which enter our homes and spray them with Zoono. Zoono is a microbe static surface sanitiser that can last up to 30 days. The whole home including communal areas, staff offices and bedrooms are deep cleaned and then Zoono is applied. We then continue cleaning day to day as normal and the Zoono sanitiser continues to eradicate any virus or bacteria that may land on the surface. This is not a requirement by Public Health England – it is an additional measure by Milford Care that we feel is in the interest of our residents and staff.

We’ve also spent a lot of time and investment installing state of the art air purifiers into all communal areas. These air purifiers strip unwanted bacteria and viruses from the air and will reduce the risk of COVID-19. Each home has a mobile version that can be used in communal areas and bedrooms during cleaning.

As well as our new air purifier systems, we are also following all infection control guidelines. We are following advice and guidance from our Infection Control Teams at the NHS but we have also implemented many additional measures:

  •   All staff have their temperature checked before they enter the care home.
  •   All residents have their temperature checked twice every day.
  •   All staff are continuously wiping down “touch” surfaces with antibacterial wipes or warm water and detergent
  •   We have increased handwashing and the amount of hand sanitiser around our homes.
  •   Staff have done activities with residents to encourage them to wash their hands more often and staff are supporting those residents that need support to wash their hands.
  •   Removed spray bottles so that areas are not sprayed with the cleaner as this can push any Coronavirus up into the air to be breathed in.
  •   Additional equipment has been supplied such as more thermometers of the infra-red style which are non-touch, so therefore reducing cross contamination.

If a resident or staff member is feeling unwell, we are now able to get them tested by Public Health England. This Government initiative is helping us to manage infection control. 

Any resident who has a positive test result will be isolated in their room for a minimum of 14 days and staff will wear full PPE whilst caring for the resident. 

Any resident who leaves the home even for medical appointments or A&E will self-isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms. Should the resident develop symptoms, they would need to further isolate for 14 days. 

At Milford Care we recognise that our staff are frontline workers and critical to delivering care in the safest way possible to the residents and are protected themselves. We are accessing PPE and our staff are wearing masks at all times. PPE is readily available and being worn as recommended by Public Health England. Chiropodists are now able to visit and treat the residents in the Milford Care homes.

Staff have shoes that they only wear in the home and outdoor shoes are left at the door. Overshoes are worn in rooms where residents are unwell. Staff uniforms are being washed at 60+ degrees at the home to ensure that we are being responsible out in the community. Staff have been given additional training in outbreak management and how to put on and take off their PPE.

We’re also keen to keep activities up in the homes. Every day, the residents participate in singing, dancing and enjoying the garden amongst other things. Activity packs are being created for each resident so that they can participate in their favourite hobbies. 

To make sure that regular updates and social interaction with family and friends is still occurring, our IT team have setup additional laptops and tablets with Skype in order to keep communication going. We wouldn’t want anybody to miss out on the activities and smiles we’re receiving!

We also have cleaning procedures in place if relatives wish to drop off gifts and treats for their resident and have introduced cleaning items down before passing them on to the resident again trying to be as safe as we can be.

For more updates, keep checking back in to and your care home’s Facebook page. Keep safe and smiling everyone.