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Care Home Infection- The Importance of a “Early Warning System” By Hugo Spalding, Managing Director, Gather Care (www.gathercapture.com/gather-care) It is good news that care home residents may be allowed to spend Christmas with their families and a few may be able to visit family homes during the festive season. Of course, this comes at a price with the risk of infections being brought back to care homes which is why the government is asking those care home residents who do visit family to only form a bubble of one rather than three. 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, and in the care sector it is vital to allow families the chance to spend Christmas together if possible. However, infectious outbreaks of any kind, not just Covid, can cause a home to lockdown residents, or the whole home, causing huge disappointment. The government has promised greater access to testing in care homes, but this can be effectively supple-

mented with an early warning system that highlights outbreaks. Tracking infection data helps a care home understand the probability of an outbreak through regular comparison of daily data inputs. By tracking certain symptom rates, you can start to predict whether your home may experience an outbreak. This gives homes a much greater opportunity to respond accordingly to potential outbreaks, for example, seeing a rise in pyrexia and diarrhea may indicate a home is going to experience an outbreak of norovirus that needs intervention to prevent. This then means carers and care home managers know what they need to put certain process in place or order more PPE to fight infection. This knowledge is a powerful tool in the hands of the carers as it gives them an early warning in the fight against illness. To be able to predict a potential issue and act on it appropriately before it has a chance to manifest not only saves time and resources but can save lives. With the year it’s been everyone wants to have a break and see their families without thinking of the possible repercussions, but when working within the healthcare sector the wellbeing of residents has to take priority even if that means restrictions. However, being able to allow some residents to see their families is an amazing opportunity that care homes should allow if proper precautions can be taken. Adopting a data focused culture within a home can be that precaution.

Veterans Commemorated in Online Christmas Starlight Service Royal Star & Garter’s annual Starlight service has taken place online this year. The service celebrates the lives of residents past and present during the Christmas season, and was held online on Sunday 6 December. The video will remain available to view on Royal Star & Garter’s website over the festive period. Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. Residents and relatives from the charity’s Homes, who would usually attend Starlight services in person, took part in readings and carol singing. Starlight traditionally takes place at churches close to each of Royal Star & Garter’s Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. It is normally attended by residents, staff, volunteers and the relatives of those who have been cared for by the charity. One of the most cher-

ished highlights is the opportunity to hang star-shaped messages to loved ones on the Christmas tree. The pre-recorded 22-minute service features residents from across the Homes reading poems and passages, and contributions from local community groups, including schools and churches. A special message from Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, who has been the charity’s President since 1964, acknowledges that this has been a year of many challenges, but it has also been a year that has shown us how much the country and our communities can achieve together. The service can be viewed at www.starandgarter.org/starlight. A lyric sheet found on the page allows people to join in with hymns and carols, while a Starlight decoration can be printed off and personalised in special tribute to a loved one.

Gracewell of Church Crookham Resident Taken On Birthday ‘Life Tour’ Janie Street, a Gracewell of Church Crookham resident, has been taken on a ‘This is Your Life’ tour in celebration of her 80th birthday. Janie, who was born in Farnborough, has spent most of her life in the local area. Asked how she wanted to celebrate her milestone-birthday, Janie said she only wanted to see her son who had been unable to visit her due to ill health. In response to Janie’s request, Gracewell of Church Crookham worked closely with her son to devise a special plan which would take her on a tour of local places where she has fond memories, while adhering to social distancing guidelines. The first stop in the Gracewell of Church Crookham minivan saw Janie visit the house where she was born in 1940 and lived until she was 14 years old. After then visiting the home she lived in until she married, Janie was taken to the church where she married her husband Peter. The tour then moved on to her first marital

home which Janie and her husband named ‘Laerchenwald’ after their honeymoon resort in Austria, a name it continues to bear 60 years later. While visiting this house, Janie recalled how she revisited the honeymoon resort with her husband to celebrate 25 years of marriage together. The Gracewell of Church Crookham minivan then drove Janie past the school that her sons went to. Janie was pleased to learn that one of her fellow residents at Gracewell of Church Crookham used to teach at this school. Janie was also taken to various other locations, including to her brother’s house, where friends waved as they passed by, followed by driving past the Pyestock area where she worked and met her husband. The last leg of the trip took Janie to her previous home where she lived for 44 years before moving into Gracewell of Church Crookham. Here, Janie was delighted to be surprised by her son who had

also arranged for the neighbourhood to come out and sing Happy Birthday for her. Returning to Gracewell of Church Crookham, Janie was treated to a surprise birthday party with residents and team members at the care home. Here, she was presented with a wonderful birthday cake, presents, drinks and a singalong to round off the most-memorable day. After her celebrations came to an end, Janie remarked how she had “a wonderful day” that she’ll “never forget”. Speaking of Janie’s ‘This is Your Life’ tour, Racquel Barretto, the General Manager of Gracewell of Church Crookham, said: “To celebrate Janie’s special birthday, the Gracewell of Church Crookham team were determined to organise an event which would match this momentous occasion. It was hugely enjoyable to work with Janie’s son to learn so much about her life and organise a fantastic tour around the local area. “On the day, Janie had a brilliant time and all of those who accompanied her on the tour made special memories of their own which they will cherish in the years to come.”

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The Carer Digital - Issue #33  

The Carer Digital is delivered to our readers online every week.  This new online edition is available online for the duration of the COVID...

The Carer Digital - Issue #33  

The Carer Digital is delivered to our readers online every week.  This new online edition is available online for the duration of the COVID...

Profile for thecarer