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Local care homes introduce temporary accommodation for their staff to support their current COVID-19 free status and the NHS

Posted on March 31, 2020 by Milkwood Admin

Milkwood Care, an independent care home provider based in Petersfield, has introduced innovative measures to help care staff in two of its homes to continue to offer the highest standards of care during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Located in shared grounds in Liss, Milkwood House care home and Chatterwood House nursing home are home to 75 elderly residents, some of whom require nursing and dementia care.

Staff have been taking all possible precautions to help protect their residents and themselves from the risk of being infected by COVID-19. Some front line staff in both homes told Milkwood Care’s owners and directors, Robin Cheesman and Janet Lloyd-Leech, that they were more than happy to volunteer to stay over on-site, even when they are not on shift, to protect residents by eliminating the risks associated with social contact with their families and friends and non-essential travel. Initially, these staff members had been using the homes’ bedrooms, normally reserved for residents, in which to rest and sleep.

Now, the Milkwood Care owners have arranged for ‘staying’ staff to be housed in two luxury caravans, which have been brought in to the grounds of the homes. They will remain available and used as vital care and nursing staff accommodation throughout the duration of the virus outbreak.

Operations Director, Grant Douglas, said,

“We’ve taken this unusual step to free up vacant residents’ bedrooms temporarily used by staff, to ensure that we have emergency bedrooms for the increasing volume of people that are being discharged from hospitals and to support the NHS by freeing up their beds. The health and safety of our residents and staff is paramount and we appreciate that our staff are making sacrifices, and going above and beyond, to care for others at this time. We, and our residents, would like to thank them for their efforts. We want to do everything we can to maximise their comfort and health — they are totally dedicated to our residents and the national effort in these trying times and they are doing an amazing job.”

Following consultation with Public Health England and informing their visiting community, Milkwood Care has suspended all non-essential visits to their care homes until further notice. The homes are facilitating online video call meetings, using Skype and Facetime, so that residents are still able to see and talk to their relatives and friends, albeit through these devices. Staff say that these ‘virtual visits’ are proving to be very popular and provide reassurance, keep people in touch and are helping to prevent loneliness and anxiety. Staff are doing all they can to ensure that home life continues as normal, with activities still taking place within the home.

Grant said,

“We are delighted to report that, to date, we have had zero reported cases of COVID-19 in any of our homes. We will continue with our robust infection control practices and have strict protocols in place to limit risks of cross infection in our care homes. Our care homes monitor residents’ and staff health closely, with all our homes in daily contact with our head office. We are happy that medical and food supplies are at a good level and spirits are high in all of our nine homes around the country.”

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