Coronavirus

At Encore Care Homes, our priority is keeping our residents, team and community safe during these challenging times. We also know it is important to keep relatives, family & friends, as well as the wider community up to date with the latest information about how we are managing this situation.

Visiting an Encore Care Home:

In response to the latest local and national COVID-19 updates from the government and Public Health England we are now reviewing visiting restrictions on a weekly basis. For more information on this please contact the care homes directly for how they are managing the situation. As always, the safety and wellbeing of our residents and care team are our priority and we appreciate your understanding with this unusual situation.

Testing Update:

Our team will continue to be tested for COVID-19 weekly, while residents will receive a test every 28 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in social care. This is in addition to intensive testing in any care home facing an outbreak, or at increased risk of an outbreak.

Update: 10.7.20

We are now welcoming visitors

We are pleased to announce that we are starting to welcome family and friends to visit loved ones once again at our care homes*. There will be several guidelines you will have to follow to enable us to do this safely, effectively, and most importantly in a fair way. This also ensures the safety of you, our residents and team.

Visiting will only be permitted in our garden area and in the event of bad weather, where possible, we will invite you to use the balcony space for your visit. If you wish to bring gifts, they must be something that we are able to disinfect with spray prior to them being brought into the home.

At this time, we can only permit one visitor per person or two if you are from the same household. To ensure everyone gets a fair chance at visiting their loved ones, we are unable to allow more than one visit per week from the same person. We do understand this is an opportunity everyone has been waiting for so the first few weeks will most likely be quite busy. Overtime however his will ease and we may be able to allow increased visits per week.

On the day of your visit you will need to come to reception to sign in, wash your hands and put on your PPE. We will also be taking your temperature. The reception team will then show you round to the garden by the side access and seat you at a table. This table / chairs will be disinfected before and after every visit. We will bring your loved one to the garden.

Unfortunately at this time we will not be able to offer you food or drink on your visits, you may however bring your own drink but this will need to be taken away with you at the end of your visit.

Each home varies how they are able to accommodate the visits, so please contact the Reception team at your care home for further details and to book your visit.

We look forward to welcoming you to our homes again and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being so understanding and following our guidelines through this challenging time.

Testing Update:

Our team will be tested for COVID-19 weekly, while residents will receive a test every 28 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in social care. This is in addition to intensive testing in any care home facing an outbreak, or at increased risk of an outbreak.

*Entry is subject to strict conditions and the manager’s right to withdraw permission at any one time without notice.  

Update: 10.6.20

While the UK, specifically England has started to relax some of the lockdown regulations, our care homes remain closed to visitors. However, we are delighted to say that we are starting to put detailed plans in place with regards to reopening our care homes for relatives to visit.

At the moment, the government guidance from early April is still in place and that’s only allowing visits for ‘end of life’ residents. We are expecting this guidance to change soon, so we are making sure we have the right systems and procedures in place to accommodate safe visits.

We will be letting all relatives know when the advice changes and visits are possible. In the meantime, thank you once again for your patience and understanding over the past few months.

The sunny spring has enabled us to make the most of homes gardens and balconies. You may have seen on our social media, residents who have been outside enjoying the sunshine and we will continue to encourage this over the next few months.

Wellbeing is a really important topic for us. We are going to be focusing on our team’s wellbeing as we launch a ‘Wellbeing week’ at the end of June. During Wellbeing week, we make sure that all our team are getting the support that they need, especially on the back of a really difficult few months.

I’m delighted to say that testing for our residents and team has become even more accessible and we are now able to receive all the testing kits we need in the care home which means we can follow a regular and routine program for COVID-19.

We continue to have plenty of PPE, and infection control is our key focus as we make sure that we keep COVID-19 at bay in our care homes.

It’s been fantastic to receive some nominations for a team members, we have passed on those accolades so that they know they have been nominated. We have treated each one to a dinner on us. If you do have anyone who you would like to nominate please send them to feedback@encorecarehomes.co.uk, with the name of the team member, the care home they work in and the reason for the nomination and we will make sure that they receive the appropriate recognitions.

Thank you very much for your ongoing support and we look forward to being in touch soon with further details as we open our care homes for visiting.

Update: 5.5.20

Testing update

Keeping our residents and team safe is fundamental and I am delighted with the progress that has been made in the last couple of weeks to accessing testing kits for Coronavirus. We can request testing kits for our residents simply through a website and we receive the testing kits the next day. As of last week, our team can now go to several different testing sites local to them We really are seeing the benefits of accessible testing for both our residents and our care members. Positive progress as we continue to fight coronavirus.

I have also been on a call with the cabinet office last week, who were seeking our opinion on several different areas. They are looking to see how they can support the care sector over the coming weeks and months. It was a real privilege to feed into the policy making centrally.

Recognising our team

I also want to take a moment to recognise our team members. It has been a really tough few weeks in our care homes. I would like to personally thank our care home managers. We benefit from having some of the best care home managers in the country and it’s a tough enough job in the best of times but leading your team through a pandemic is something else. Each care home manager is leading their teams calmly through this pandemic and their reliance is really something else. I know they are constantly thinking of how they can keep their residents and team members safe – so thank you.

Keeping in touch with your loved one

Unfortunately, our care homes remain closed to visitors and I totally understand that this is difficult for everyone. We will continue to ensure that our residents can keep in touch with their loved ones, so please do continue to book your times through the Wellbeing teams. We have also been accepted onto a Facebook Pilot programme, where we will receive several Facebook Portal devices which will enable Facebook and WhatsApp calls in our homes as well.

Nominate a team member

We do want to continue to celebrate our fantastic care members, so if you would like to nominate a member of our team for going above and beyond, please do put your nominations into – feedback@encorecarehomes.co.uk. Please include the name of the care member, the care home that they work in and the reason for the nomination. We will make sure that they are recognised.

Embracing the great outdoors

As we go into May, we are wanting to embrace the great outdoors and make sure that our residents can enjoy our gardens and balcony areas. You will plenty of photos on our Facebook pages – so please check these out. We have been really touched with the donations we have received in recent weeks and would continue to encourage you that if you have any pots or plants that you have to brighten up our balconies we would love to receive them.

Finally, if you have any feedback on our newsletters, what you find helpful, what you would like to see more of,  please do let us know at feedback@encorecarehomes.co.uk.

Update: 21.04.20

As we live through these extraordinary times, I would like to take a moment to give you an update. First, I wanted to start with a thank you for all your support. The Care Home Managers have shared with me some lovely emails, cards and gifts that they have received in recent weeks. Your support is really appreciated, and I know that it gives the teams in the care homes a real boost – so thank you.

Encore Care Homes are in a strong position as we are part of a wider group, so we have dedicated facility managers who are sourcing PPE daily to make sure we have sufficient supplies for the weeks ahead.

We are also working hard to make sure that our staff have access to testing. You may have heard last week that the department of health and social care announced that the testing would be broadened to include care workers as well as the NHS. So far, we are being directed to a testing site in Gatwick which is not convenient for our staff, so we are continuing to lobby for more local testing.

I am very conscious that actions speak louder than words, so we are working hard to make sure that our care teams feel supported. In the run up to Easter, we made sure that all our staff were given a care box that contained various food provisions for them to enjoy over the Easter weekend. We are also providing our staff with a bonus in their April pay to really thank them for all their dedication and hard work in these difficult times.

We know that it is difficult for all our relatives not to visit their loved ones in our care homes now. I am really pleased to see a take up in video conferencing has taken off within our homes and would encourage you to continue to book these slots through our Wellbeing teams.

Finally, a quick update on our volunteering scheme. Just to clarify we will be asking volunteers to help with ancillary services; we are not asking our volunteers to provide personal care. By having volunteers in the homes will enable our nurses and carers to really focus on providing the very best care for our residents. Thank you to all of you who have come forward already for this scheme.

I wish you all the very best, stay safe and stay well.

Update: 07.04.20

As we enter our third week of national lockdown, our priority continues with keeping our residents, staff and community safe. We are still following the advice from Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS closely.

With this in mind, we have introduced further preventative measures at all our care homes to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus and I wanted to share these with you:

  • We have closed all but one entrance to every building to ensure no-one can enter without hand washing.
  • We are providing PPE to all our care teams with a plan currently in place to ensure continued supplies are available, leveraging existing supplier networks and sourcing new bulk supplies.
  • Ensuring support and guidance is available for all care teams:
    • Training videos for correctly putting on and taking off PPE
    • Increased infection control training and advice
    • New hand washing training kits and training

Our care teams have been doing a fantastic job and we really do appreciate their dedication to our residents in these difficult times. We have been supporting them as much as we can too through some new initiatives that include:

  • Links to mental health advice lines
  • Support offered through our HR network
  • Key Worker cards issued

The wellbeing of our care teams remains a key priority for us to ensure that they can continue to provide care to our residents. In line with the government guidelines, all our staff have now been issued with a Key Worker card that will enable them to travel to work without any challenge and to gain access to priority shopping times.

Our team’s wellbeing initiatives are being increased to ensure that they all have access to any support they may require during this difficult period.

We are currently recruiting additional staff to ensure that we have constant cover across our homes on a full and part time basis in key roles such as Health Care Assistants and in key teams such as catering, wellbeing and reception/admin.

We are also asking people to volunteer if you have some spare time and would like to help in the homes. This might be for a few hours, or as much as time as you can give. This could be to assist with some gardening, perhaps helping in the kitchen or simply doing a jigsaw puzzle with our residents to keep them company.

Please rest assured we are following government guidelines to keep our residents, care team and volunteers safe. Supporting our care teams is vital to the overall care being provided to our residents and this additional support will go a long way. Before anyone can become a volunteer, we are implementing some strict requirements. Further details of this can be found on our volunteers web page –  www.encorecarehomes.co.uk/volunteers.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Katie who is co-ordinating our volunteers programme directly via email volunteers@encorecarehomes.co.uk, or you can visit our volunteers page – www.encorecarehomes.co.uk/volunteers where we have some further information and a simple form to complete to find out more.

I will continue to provide updates to you. Please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to keep your loved ones safe during these challenging times.

As always, stay safe.

Update: 18.03.20

Coronavirus prevention measures at Encore Care Homes

As a care provider, our first priority is always to keep our residents, staff and community safe. In response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have been closely following advice from Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS.

Covid-19, more commonly referred to as ‘coronavirus’, can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

With this in mind, we have introduced new preventative measures at all of our care homes:

  • We have asked all relatives to currently refrain from visiting our care homes unless residents are very poorly. Any visitors are asked to complete a health declaration upon entering the home. If any risks of possible transmission are identified, entry to the home will not be permitted.
  • We can support you and your loved one to use a phone or video call to keep in touch. We have bought all our care homes tablet devices to facilitate use of Skype and will be creating closed Facebook groups so relatives can get regular updates on activities within each care home.
  • We have reviewed and reinforced our infection protection controls including the increase of observations and monitoring. As reiterated by the government and Chief Medical Officer, regular and thorough hand washing is key to minimising the spread of COVID 19.
  • We have increased internal reporting and governance to identify early warnings signs of a possible outbreak of coronavirus. This will enable us to respond quickly and proportionally.
  • We have daily COVID 19 steering group meetings to support our registered managers and their teams. We are centralising support so home managers can focus on leading their teams through these challenging times.
  • We are supporting our team members, so they have the latest knowledge and expertise to keep our residents safe. We are training additional team members so we can cover increased sickness absence.
  • All our staff are changing into their uniforms at work to minimise the risk of bringing in infections from outside our care homes.
  • We are working closely with our suppliers and contractors to ensure that the delivery of goods and services remain uninterrupted.
  • To mitigate the risk of community transmission, we have temporarily suspended external providers of activities and entertainment entering our care homes. We are still continuing with a wide range of activities and increasingly are finding ways to continue with various activities via video link, such as exercise classes and even musical concerts.
  • NHS Awareness posters are displayed throughout our homes to provide simple advice about coronavirus. These posters explain what symptoms to look for
  • We have strong relationships with our external agency partners and have contingency plans to ensure we have access to additional external staff.
  • We will share updates with you as the situation progresses.

We hope that these measures will not be necessary for long and will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep you updated if there are any changes.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance in these challenging times. We really appreciate your support with these measures.

We have detailed contingency plans in place that closely follow Public Health England advice and support our teams to deliver the very best care.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update as we learn more.

Update: 13.03.20

Coronavirus prevention measures at Encore Care Homes

As a care provider, our first priority is always to keep our residents, staff and community safe. In response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we have been closely following advice from Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS.

Covid-19, more commonly referred to as ‘coronavirus’, can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

With this in mind, we have introduced new preventative measures at all of our care homes:

  • Our residents face an increased risk and in order to keep them all as safe as possible we are asking visitors, including family members and friends, to refrain from visiting our care homes at this time. If you are concerned that your loved one is very poorly and the visiting restrictions are too difficult, please contact your Home Manager to discuss the best approach.
  • To further avoid the risk of infection, we are limiting visits overall into our care homes including external entertainers, with all entertainment cancelled for the foreseeable future.
  • We will ensure that vital medical visits are still made. We will continue to follow strict process – including ensuring that any medical visitors wash their hands on entering, have no symptoms (we will be taking temperatures before entering), and have not recently travelled to a category 1 or 2 country.

We hope that these measures will not be necessary for long and will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep you updated if there are any changes.

Thank you for your understanding and assistance in these challenging times. We really appreciate your support with these measures.

We have detailed contingency plans in place that closely follow Public Health England advice and support our teams to deliver the very best care.

We will continue to monitor the situation and update as we learn more.

Update: 10.03.20

Coronavirus prevention measures at Encore

As a care provider, our priority is always to keep our residents, staff and community safe. In response to the national health concerns surrounding the coronavirus, we have been closely following advice from Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS.

We have stringent infection prevention and control protocols in place in line with the current PHE coronavirus advice. Every person who comes into, or exits our care homes, must sanitise their hands.

We have infection control throughout our care homes and will continue to work with our care team members on effective hand washing and infection control protocols.

During this process, we would ask all visitors who have experienced fever, cough or shortness of breath or been exposed to individuals with these symptoms within the last 14 days to reschedule their visit for a later date. Additionally, visitors who have been out of the country or exposed to individuals who have been out of the country within the last 14 days to also please reschedule their visit.

If you have questions about how Encore Care Homes is protecting residents and team members from coronavirus, please contact your relevant Home Manager. Thank you for your understanding and for supporting our efforts to maintain healthy communities.

I will continue to update you with this situation as we follow guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS.