As Covid-19 restrictions start to change this month, at MacIntyre we continue to do all we can to keep the people we support and our staff safe. This means that we need to ensure that the following core “safety measures” are as robust as ever:
- Infection Control – We continue to ensure that both personal and domestic hygiene standards are exemplary everywhere. We have great support from our Health and Safety and compliance colleagues who are now also auditing what we do.
- PPE – We made the decision last March to use full PPE in all of our settings. This was strange at first as wearing such equipment is counterintuitive to how we do things. However we have worked this through and everyone realises the continued importance of wearing masks, aprons and gloves.
- Testing – All of our settings are now covered by a testing regime including regular PCR (laboratory based testing) and the lateral flow (rapid results) testing. We have seen some supply issues where we have been dependant on local councils but we are working with these councils to resolve the issues.
MacIntyre continues to promote the vaccination programme. It is important that we make appropriate information and support available to the people we support and to the workforce. The recent decision by the government and JCVI to prioritise every person with a learning disability who is on their GP’s learning disability register was very welcome.
To date 531 people we support have had their first vaccination and this represents most of the people in the priority groups. 1,400 staff have received their first vaccine and some second vaccinations are already happening.
As you will have heard in the press, visitors to care homes are permitted from Monday 8 March https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus. At MacIntyre we have always encouraged visits where it has been safe to do so as we recognise the importance of this contact for the people we support and their families.
In accordance with government guidance we do have the following protocols in place:
- Visitors need to have had a negative Lateral Flow Test before entering the place where their relative lives.
- Visitors must wear PPE at all times
- Contact should still be kept to a minimum
- Each person we support should have one named visitor
- Personal and domestic hygiene should be observed before and after a visit
- Unfortunately visits have to be put on hold if there is an outbreak, or any positive cases, in the place where their relative lives.
We realise that the restrictions have been upsetting for all of us. Thank you to everyone connected to MacIntyre for helping us to work though these restrictions in a way that balances the need for contact and safety. These efforts have played a part in keeping the numbers of positive cases of Covid-19 across MacIntyre at relatively low levels.
We are looking forward to the easing of the restrictions, but recognise that we need to follow the guidance at all times and keep our core building blocks for safety in place.
People’s lives have changed so drastically over the past year and I am aware that this has been a very difficult time. I would like to acknowledge and thank everyone connected to MacIntyre for their resilience, focus, ingenuity and compassion.
Sarah Burslem, CEO