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Management of COVID-19 within Avery Care Homes

It is inevitable that COVID-19 would affect care homes in the UK at some point, due to the high-risk factors of this particular front line. Virtually all the residents within care homes are in the most vulnerable older age group, and nearly all have an underlying condition or combination of conditions. But this can be the best place for someone with symptoms to be supported.

As part of the national effort, the care sector plays a vital role in supporting the NHS by accepting residents as they are discharged from hospital; recuperation is better in non-acute settings and hospitals need to have enough beds to treat the acutely sick patients. If the care sector does not provide this vital role the NHS will collapse.

COVID-19 cases will be dealt with in care homes, and Avery is no exception. We have robust protocols, policies and procedures to support those residents that display any symptoms associated with COVID-19. Given that limited or no testing is available outside of the NHS, the Avery homes take the full precaution of treating any symptomatic resident as if they have been tested as positive, although they may not be.

We are all seeing the devasting affect that the virus is having on the world and sadly the increase in deaths, which of course has affected some of you personally. We will continue in our determination to minimise risk in our homes and focus on supporting residents who are symptomatic of the virus and who at this sad time do not have the opportunity to see their loved ones. Our staff are also our priority, in protecting them with adequate supply of PPE and supporting their mental well-being, as we work through this unprecedented time. An amazing team effort with our protocols in place supports the safety and well-being of our residents, and we can already share with you celebrations of success where residents have recovered from COVID-19, at two of the Avery homes, in Milton Keynes and Birmingham. Both homes had residents without symptoms admitted to local hospitals for treatment on underlying conditions, and both were returned to the care homes testing positive. In the case at Milton Keynes, the hospital only advised this result the day after the resident was returned.

Fortunately for Derek at Milton Court care home in Milton Keynes, and for the other residents and staff, the home deployed their standard protocol of 14 days’ isolation for either new or returning residents, and so he was isolated and barrier-nursed. When confirmation came through from the hospital that he had tested positive, no changes to his regime were required. Derek’s daughter Debbie explained her relief that her dad had been nursed well and out of danger: “As a family we were very worried, but the care and dedication of the staff at Milton Court is second to none, and it was great to be able to speak to Dad again and hear him in good spirits.”

The same situation arose at St Giles care home in the east of Birmingham, when Jean returned from having treatment on existing conditions and had contracted COVID-19 whilst in hospital. She was immediately isolated on her return and barrier-nursed by a dedicated group of carers who had received additional training for such circumstances. Their focus and quality of care has brought Jean back to her previous self, and she has even appeared on the home’s Facebook pages to celebrate. Jean’s daughter Tracey was full of praise for the staff at St Giles and the care that her mum received, and further commented that, “Mom was dealt with very efficiently and compassionately during her infection, and we were kept informed throughout this period.”

Sharon Winfield, Chief Operating Officer for Avery Healthcare commented, “In line with the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England on the admission and care of people in care homes, we immediately implement our 14 day isolation protocol to reduce risk, whether a new incoming or returning resident has been tested positive or not. We have very strict protocols in place for positive, symptomatic and asymptomatic residents to ensure that we protect as best as possible all in our care, our staff, and their respective families. It is now great to see that we are successfully nursing people through this virus with the correct approach and the hard work and dedication of all of our staff.”