Well as you are all aware, January wasn’t quite the start to the New Year that we expected and wanted, as Elmfield House has had our first outbreak of Corona Virus after keeping it out for nine and a half months.
This has been devastating news for everyone associated with the home. It has been very worrying for our residents, their families and also for the staff who have been putting themselves and their families at risk to care for the residents.
Positive results for staff and residents have come through in a staggered way through testing and all residents have been isolated within their rooms, and several staff members also isolating at home.
Changes that we made as a result of the outbreak include additional care and attention to nutrition: ensuring all food is fortified more than usual, giving fresh fruit juice to increase vitamin intake, offering homemade soup as a starter at lunchtime to boost nutrient intake, focusing on fluid intake with lucozade energy drinks, fruit smoothies, milkshakes and enhancing fluid by fresh fruit intake, giving jelly and yoghurts.
To monitor the infection status of staff and residents, we have increased the frequency of whole home testing and staff have been completing the LFD tests (30- minute tests) prior to starting work each day.
This should help to identify any positive test results before staff enter the home, although the reliability has not been great as we sadly knew from accuracy statistics.
We also experienced very long delays obtaining COVID-19 19 test results, with some positive results not getting back to us for 5-8 days in some cases.
Several deep cleans of the home have been done and an enhanced high touch area cleaning agenda had already been introduced but was also enhanced. Well done to Jade Gunn for maintaining exceptional levels of cleanliness and hygiene despite working alone most of the time.
Additional PPE in the form of visors and isolation gowns, when supporting residents who had tested positive was introduced.
Increased intensity and frequency of hand-washing has been promoted to the extent that staff’s hands are red raw and peeling.
It is hoped that we are over the worst of our outbreak, and that in the next few weeks we can go back to some “normality” again.
Thank- you for the over- whelming support from the majority of staff, and also the many kind emails, words of support and beautiful hamper from Pam’s daughter Michele. Such acts of kindness really do mean so much and keep us motivated and spur us on when we feel exhausted or over-whelmed.
For a week, Alex the Chairman, treated staff to take away lunches of their choice which really helped to boost staff morale and keep them going through difficult days.
Prior to the start of our outbreak in Mid- January, we had large quantities of flowers given to us from Laura Nugent, who is the Manageress at Sainsbury’s on the corner.
On several occasions, Laura has donated unsold flowers to Elmfield House and our residents have had great fun using the flowers in flower arranging activities. This led to all- sorts of discussions regarding favorite flowers, gardens from our resident’s previous homes and the types of flowers from their wedding days.
We were continuing with twice weekly shows on Tuesday and Thursday’s with the wonderful Geoff Jukes via Zoom on the new television in the lounge. He really is a versatile entertainer and every show he does is different.
Geoff interacts effectively with each care home present on the Zoom call.
We are looking forward to resuming these shows when everyone is out of isolation again.
Staff have tried to spend one- on-one time with individuals in their bedrooms, rather than doing group activities due to the isolation factor.
Staff have been allocated a corridor each of residents to be responsible for and have spent time with residents reminiscing, making video calls with loved ones, playing dominoes, chatting with them, doing manicures and reading the newspaper with them. This one- on-one time has been essential for maintaining good mental health of our residents in worrying times for them.
Fiona, the new Vicar at Bisley Church has been in contact and is keen to establish links with us at Elmfield House once the pandemic is over and it is safe to do so. We have the facility to live stream Sunday Mass each week on the television.
Alison the Pastoral assistant who has been coming to Elmfield House for several years, has very kindly been dropping off additional Parish magazines for residents and staff.
Pauleene the other pastoral assistant has maintained her frequent welfare checks, and all have been included their Elmfield Family in their group and individual prayer. This is a great comfort in our time of need and whilst going through difficulties.
After an awful January, we are hoping to kickstart 2021 in the month of February instead!
We were scheduled to celebrate Dignity Action Day on 1st February, but due to isolation, we are going to focus on Dignity Awareness throughout the whole of February and make it our topic for the month.
As a group activity, we will be creating a Digni-tree and really think of the branches in how we promote dignity at Elmfield House. After all, it is one of our values within the home.
Dignity in care cards will be done with each resident to find out what dignity means to each individual. This really gets everyone thinking of what we are doing and why; this is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness around a very important topic.
We will also be holding a Digni-tea at well, which will be a tea afternoon again reflecting on what is important and using our Digni-tree as discussion points.
On 12th February, we will also be celebrating Chinese New Year. 2021 is the Year of the Ox.
Niccii started this tradition a few years ago and since then meals such as sweet and sour chicken and Chinese curry, are firm favorites and are now established meals on our menu as chosen by our residents.
We also have Valentine’s Day to look forward to on 14th February, which is also Roger’s birthday.
Another popular day is Shrove Tuesday, on the 16th February, where no doubt our cooks will be busy making mountains of delicious pancakes for us to enjoy with sweet and savory toppings of resident’s choice.
Ash Wednesday follows on from Shrove Tuesday on the 17th February and this has religious significance. What will you be giving up for Lent?
A big focus on our activities during February, will be on the physical and well-being of our resident, who have been through difficult times recently. We will be implementing additional exercises and physio sessions to concentrate efforts on improving their strength and start the journey to our residents becoming strong and well again.
This will be done by using the power plate, encouraging walking, chair- based exercises, individual exercise plans, using the targets and bean bag games, using balloons to promote movement, utilizing scarves and empty water bottles to enhance arm movements.
We also aim to have some much- needed fun. We have missed the sound of laughter in recent weeks so sing- a long’s, group reminiscing, baking, quizzes and bingo will all be done together again as a group.
Staff and Resident changes
Sadly, January has brought significant sadness to our staff and residents as we have had emotional turmoil in the form of grief to deal with too.
We very sadly lost Brenda Donaghey, who was very loved at Elmfield House.
She unfortunately passed away in St Peter’s Hospital on 11th January and her cause of death was a heart attack. Brenda always had a beautiful smile and a kind word to say to everyone.
A couple of days later, we had more tragic news, that Jean Wood sadly passed away in Frimley Park Hospital. She had a couple of stays in hospital and passed away on the 14th from Cerebral vascular event and COVID-19 19 pneumonia.
Jean had the best sense of humor and not a day went by when she didn’t make people laugh.
On Friday 23rd January, we had the sad news that Helen Baker, who was admitted to hospital in November, was being moved to a nursing home to support her complex changed needs. Helen was a wonderful and articulate lady who will also be missed. We have wished her luck in her new home via her Bother Bob.
All three residents are very missed by residents and staff alike. Every single resident contributes to the dynamics of Elmfield House and beings their own personality and identities.
In terms of staffing, we have welcomed two new staff to our night team: Fanny Hanson who started her induction early January and went straight onto night shifts. Fanny has cared for family members previously but it is her first time working in a care home setting.
We also welcomed Carolann Sutton who has been doing her induction on days, but will be transferring onto nights shortly.
Carolann is highly experienced with an NVQ level 3 in health and social care as well as a wealth of experience and other qualifications.
Both are settling in really well and we are glad to have them with us. They are both military spouses based at Pirbright camp.
Naz Khalesi, who has worked at Elmfield House for over eleven years, has taken on some permanent shifts working two nights per week and also Sunday day shift.
Heidi Van-Eyssen, has also joined our senior team from bank staff. Heidi will be assisting Niccii and her senior team of Chris and Lauren, with the ever-increasing resident’s paperwork and admin tasks.
We didn’t have any birthdays in January, but are looking forward to celebrating Roger’s birthday next month.
After false promises, many hours of telephone calls and emails, and the involvement of Michael Gove, one of our local MP’s; Elmfield House residents and staff eventually got our COVID-19 vaccinations on 21st January. Although it was much appreciated, it was as we feared, too little, too late as our outbreak had started the week before.
Vaccinations were done on-site by a lovely man called Ken. Lucy was the first brave person to be vaccinated after her night shift.
All residents except the three residents who were positive with COVID-19 19 received their vaccination. The majority of staff had consented to have the vaccination. There were two positive staff members who wanted the vaccinations who were unable to do so due to being COVID-19 positive. All the residents and staff who were positive at the time, will be offered the vaccination after twenty-eight days.
All vaccinations were completed within three hours.
Annual medication reviews are now taking place on 8th February as Niccii has been isolating, and although has been working from home, did not have access to MAR charts at home. Sophie Bromley is the Community Practice Pharmacy who works one day a week at Chobham and West End pharmacy.
Medication reviews ensure that residents are only on medication that they need, ensuring that the medication is effective for purpose and that short- term medicines are only used for the recommended time frame.
Employee of the month
Employee of the Month for January was definitely the hardest yet as the majority of staff have truly been amazing. There have been several staff who have worked long hours, sacrificed days off to cover staff who have had to isolate. There are many staff who really have gone the extra mile and this will most certainly be recognized after the pandemic is over, and staff will be rewarded for their efforts: not just through our outbreak, but throughout the whole of the pandemic, it has not gone un-noticed.
The Employee of the Month award has gone to Holly Kaufman as she has developed significantly in recent weeks and has massively stepped up. Holly has been one of the few staff not to have caught COVID-19 19 and has worked for almost two weeks without a day off. Holly has worked a combination of day and night shifts to ensure that the home is adequately covered at all times. Holly has volunteered to give up her days off without a second thought to ensure that the residents needs are being met. Holly’s professional development is great to see; she has learnt so much and her leadership and clinical skills have notably improved. Holly has only been doing care work for nine months and this month has been a testament of her skills and knowledge learnt.
Holly’s attitude has also been exemplary. Despite the most challenging of times, Holly has kept a positive attitude which is admirable when facing uncertainty, fear and difficulties. Holly’s ‘can- do’ attitude also had a positive impact on her colleagues and residents keeping them motivated and reassured.
I would like to express genuine gratitude to ALL the staff, those who have worked have been amazing, staff in isolation have shown great comarardie to their colleagues with supportive words and advice.
Relatives have also been extremely supportive and shown gratitude, despite staff having to share sad news with them at times involving their loved ones.
It is true that in the storms of life, there are rainbows and better days coming. We will get through this storm as our Elmfield Family TOGETHER. Thank you!