Summary of report content
Healthwatch Kingston-upon-Hull undertook virtual engagement with Wilton House, a residential care home to find out how the home has responded to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The engagement took place from 23 to 30 November 2020. They spoke to 25 people, including staff and residents.
It's clear that a great deal of thought has been put into place to safeguard staff members and residents. Wilton Lodge has worked with other HICA homes (as a collective) by feeding information into HICA about their experiences and this has resulted in a generic risk assessment and action plan being developed for each home to follow. The home had adequate supplies of PPE from the beginning and resolved the difficulties it had with food deliveries by sourcing a new supplier.
It has checks in place from the entrance of the building (temperature check machine); which staff members and visitors must use prior to entering in order to reduce the risk of bringing COVID-19 into the home. If a staff member tests positive, HICA’s head office maintains contact with staff members and supports them throughout their isolation period and the home has risk assessments and policies in place to safeguard residents if any test positive.
There was significant praise for the simplicity of accessing a single GP and clinical lead for every resident and the support the Frailty Team and the Hull COVID-19 Team offered. The only criticism was in relation to the amount of calls received by the home from multiple public bodies asking the same questions; they suggested it would be easier to feed into one public body and for them to share the information with other professionals.
Multiple forms of communication were implemented to enable residents to stay in contact with their family and friends and when possible, garden visits were introduced. The home was proactive in creating a Twitter account and gaining permission to share pictures and videos of residents to reassure family and friends about their loved one’s wellbeing.
Although virtual engagement is possible in the home, it does not come without challenges. The Healthwatch team experienced issues with the Wi-Fi connection which interrupted the engagement from time-to-time.
Wilton Lodge has seen the positives of the new methods of communication, by having more frequent conversations with family and friends and having them more involved in the resident’s care; this is something they want to keep after the pandemic. They have already listened to residents and family and friends who experienced difficulties with garden visits due to the poor weather by building a summerhouse. This offers reassurance that visits can go ahead regardless of the weather while still ensuring social distancing due to a Perspex barrier being in place.
Staff members felt supported by management and each other. Communication was found to be satisfactory overall.
It was clear from interactions with residents that they are missing physical contact with family and friends, however they understand why the restrictions are in place; the impact of this has been noted by the Registered Manager as she already identified that some residents’ health has deteriorated since restrictions were put into place. It was clear, however, that the home has done all it can to facilitate contact and that they are already planning for the future by creating a homely space for residents to see family and friends and by providing a comfortable area where visitors can wait for the results for their lateral flow test.
The report contains 4 recommendations and a response from the provider to these.