Coronavirus; St Katherine’s Care – our reaction to the crisis

Posted: 18th March 2020

For such a pretty little virus, Coronavirus is certainly having a profound effect on how we all are. It’s scary, because so much is unknown about it, but there’s a lot of very clever scientists working around the clock to find out more about it. Every day we’re learning more about how it spreads, how the infection develops, what they symptom spread is (not everyone is the same) and so on. For us in the care sector, however, we need to take particular care because most of our customers are in ‘at risk’ categories.

I know that a lot of our customers and their families have been asking about our response to the Coronavirus crisis and our plans for dealing with it, but although we’ve been responding to individual enquiries I wanted to wait until there was a clear position from the Government before I responded on behalf of the company. At the press conference on Monday 16th March, the Prime Minister firmed up much of the advice we’d been hearing through the news.

First and foremost, we’ve always followed the guidelines laid down by the Care Quality Commission. They regulate us, so anything coming from them we have treated as gospel, and the guidelines put in place for care have been followed to the letter by our team. In addition, though, we also have to consider what the Government is saying about work and working practices. To be clear, then: for us, Care Comes First. We have a commitment to all our customers to maintain continuity of care throughout this crisis, however bumpy it gets, and our aim is to make sure that everyone who needs/requests it, gets care.

We have a supply of masks, gloves, pinnies and hand sanitisers and all carers have been asked to be particularly vigilant about maintaining good hygiene at all times (which, incidentally, has always been our policy). We would ask that families visiting or interacting with their loved ones also observe this – good old soap and water is just as effective as hand sanitiser and can be used to clean all surfaces if you run out of anti-bac!

In practical terms, though, we hope little will change, you’ll still get great care from St Kath’s and we’ll do our level best at all times to make sure that continues. What does that mean in real terms?

Our main priority is to continue with care calls. Whatever you’ve booked you should get, and if you need to change anything just let us know and we’ll do what we can to accommodate.

We are required by the CQC to review and update Care Plans, but we’ll start to do that by phone with immediate effect, unless there is an overriding need for a personal visit. It seems a sensible precaution to fulfil the requirement whilst avoiding contact.

Many of our customers are, effectively, socially isolated! We want to continue providing care, support and companionship, so don’t hesitate to ask if you need help with shopping, meds, doctors’ appointments, pets – if it’s possible to help we’ll do our very best.

Care times might have to change. These are strange days, and who knows what’s around the corner, so do bear with us if we have to vary care times – we will try and let you know but sometimes these things will be outside our control.

As usual, our phones will always be answered, even when we’re not in the office there will be someone ‘on call’. If you do get the voicemail, leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

And that’s about it; if you have any specific problems or queries please don’t hesitate to contact us, and if you would like a copy of the current guidance from CQC we can provide that as well, although they cover all areas of care so you do have to read between the lines. This situation isn’t going to change much in the next few weeks, the current thinking is that restrictions will be with us until late May/early June, although this will depend on how the virus spreads through different communities. We will keep you informed of any developments that might affect our community and the care we provide, and remember the symptoms; sore throat, dry persistent cough and fever (particularly night sweats) with fatigue and a runny nose. Call 111 if you are in any doubt!

Stay safe and well