Safety in care homes: how this Cirencester care home is supporting their residents during Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 12:13 07 December 2020 | UPDATED: 12:19 07 December 2020

Watermoor House resident enjoying an activity with with Alison Picter, Activities & Marketing Coordinator. Picture: Watermoor House

Watermoor House resident enjoying an activity with with Alison Picter, Activities & Marketing Coordinator. Picture: Watermoor House

Archant

The residents at Watermoor House care home enjoyed ice creams in the sun during summer, filming TikTok dances with staff, and now they’re decking the halls for Christmas, all without one Covid case to date.

Resident walking in the grounds at Watermoor House with a carer. Picture: Watermoor HouseResident walking in the grounds at Watermoor House with a carer. Picture: Watermoor House

Georgina Heley, Home Manager at Watermoor House, and the rest of the staff have been busier than ever during Covid-19, making sure residents are happy, entertained, and most of all healthy and safe.

We spoke to Business and Marketing Manager, Helen Wallace, to see how they’ve kept the pandemic at bay and spirits high.

How do you control the risk of infection in a care home?

The top priority for Watermoor House is the safety of their residents and staff, so ‘they went above and beyond to ensure this’, Helen says.

Exterior of Watermoor House residential and respite care home. Picture: Watermoor HouseExterior of Watermoor House residential and respite care home. Picture: Watermoor House

“We stocked up on PPE in February and made the difficult decision to close the home earlier than most. This is a couple of the ways we’ve avoided any cases to date,” explains Helen.

“It was obviously tough at first, but we quickly adapted and facilitated visits from relatives safely in the garden in summer, and have renovated our summerhouse into a dedicated visiting pod.”

The summerhouse was quickly repurposed to include a ceiling-to-floor Perspex glass screen and special hearing aids, to separate residents and family members physically, but allow them to spend valuable time together.

What can people expect in a care home during Covid-19?

The emotional wellbeing of the care home residents is not taken lightly, and since pre-Covid activities involved trips out, the residential home has had to be especially creative to keep the residents entertained.

“In summer, the residents enjoyed visits from the ice cream van, spending socially distanced time with their relatives on the patio garden, staff sports day, and clapping for carers - an appeal went out for donations and between that and a small grant they raised nearly £2,000 for more PPE,” Helen says.

“We’ve even had some of the more musically-inclined getting involved in TikTok dances!”

Christmas is always magical at Watermoor House, and it will be no different this year; there’s a cheese and wine evening, a Christmas raffle, staff nativity play, carol singing and mulled wine evening, an abundance of Christmas trees and decorations, and a gift shop has even been set up to enable residents to do their Christmas shopping.

What should people look for in a care home?

Nothing seems more important at the moment than the way a residential care home has managed the pandemic. Watermoor House surveyed residents’ family to get some feedback.

Here were the results:

- ‘How well do you feel Watermoor House managed the impact of the pandemic on your relative’s health and wellbeing?’ - Rated 4.5 out of 5

- ‘Overall, how much do you think Watermoor House has done in terms of taking all reasonable measures to keep your relative safe throughout the pandemic so far?’ - Rated 5 out of 5

- ‘In general, how many points out of 10 would you give Watermoor House for its performance throughout the pandemic?’ - Rated 9.2 out of 10

“The home is so elegant, but also cosy and quaint, and is completely run by a charity. We really are one big family,” says Helen.

Visit www.watermoorhouse.org for more information. Contact them on 01285 654 864 or enquiries@watermoorhouse.org.

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