Latest information as of Friday, 1 May 2020

Here are the latest updates on how we're caring for those living and working in our residential care homes during the Coronavirus outbreak, including guidance for visitors.

For those residents living in our flats, bungalows or apartments, restrictions only apply in the same way as they do to the general public but, in line with government guidance, residents are being asked to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures including significantly limiting face-to-face interaction with friends and family, avoiding large and small gatherings, and avoiding non-essential use of public transport.

Our care homes are well-prepared for outbreaks of this kind and continuing to provide excellent care and support for all those who live in our homes. We have appointed Barbara Margetts, Assistant Director of Operations, as our lead person on Coronavirus; Barbara and key members of our Executive Team receive regular updates from the Chief Medical Officer and advice from the National Care Forum and Public Health England.

Life in our homes

Caring for, shielding and supporting those living and working in our homes is our priority. Our staff teams are working wonderfully well and are implementing their plans prepared for pandemics with infection control and protection measures in place and Public Health England supporting the homes as needed.

Sadly, two residents at Luff House have passed away due to COVID-19 in recent days and there are others with symptoms in the home. Public Health England are supporting and advising staff and there is sufficient PPE at the home. Please do pray for those living and working at Luff House during this challenging time, and for their relatives. 

Despite precautions, sadly there were three deaths at Finborough Court over the Easter period with COVID-19 as a contributing factor, all of whom also had underlying illnesses. The causes of a further five deaths are unconfirmed but are likely to have COVID-19 as a contributing factor; there were also underlying health issues present. The staff have been excellent in the ways that they've stepped up but please do pray for all those living and working at Finborough Court. We have been encouraged by the support shown to the home by the local community which you can read more about here.

Many of those living in our homes and housing schemes are concerned about the impact of the virus in wider society; many are concerned for people who do not know Jesus as their Saviour, particularly during this incredibly challenging time. Lots of those within the Pilgrims' Friend Society family have been painting and creating rainbows, candles and crosses to place in windows as a sign of their trust in God and eternal hope.

Please do pray for all involved, particularly those with coughs and fevers.  Please pray for strength and courage for all those living and working in our homes and housing schemes.

How we're protecting residents and staff

Our key precautions continue to be:

  • handwashing more often for 20 seconds
  • Use tissues when coughing or sneezing
  • Dispose of tissues into waste immediately after they’ve been used
  • Avoid touching the face

Our staff are doing wonderful work during a difficult and challenging time. Many of you will know that accessing enough personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves that our both our residents and staff need in order to reduce the transferral of the virus is a challenge, across both the care sector and the NHS, but we are doing everything we can to ensure that we have everything that we need. In recent days we have been able to source enough PPE which has helped the situation across the homes.

We are asking that any member of staff who displays the two key symptoms of a high fever or new, continuous cough remain at home and self-isolate for seven days, we are also asking that staff who live with others who are displaying symptoms to remain at home and self-isolate for 14 days. Staff who self-isolate with someone else with symptoms but who don't display the symptoms themselves maybe end self-isolation after the 14. If they do develop symptoms they must end self-isolation seven days after symptoms started.

We are glad to be welcoming back those members of our teams who had to self-isolate in the early days of the virus, even as others have to go into isolation. Our teams are working incredibly hard and we have been able to staff all of our homes appropriately throughout the outbreak so far.

Guidance for visitors

Our residential care homes are closed to visitors for 12 weeks from Sunday, 22 March. This is in line with Government guidance on shielding the most vulnerable from the virus. The only exception to this is if a resident is nearing the end of their life.

The only visitors that will be admitted after midnight on Sunday, 22 March will be:

  • Health care professionals to assess/give essential care i.e. GPs 
  • Essential service engineers e.g. lift engineers

Again, these restrictions to do not apply to our independent living housing schemes where those living in flats, bungalows or apartments who are being asked to follow stringent social distancing measures. Staff in our housing schemes are continuing to provide practical and emotional support for those older people in our communities are taking these measures.

We will be led by Government on when to introduce further restrictions. While we expect that these measures will keep our residents and staff well, we are making preparations should a resident contract the virus.

How you can pray

While we are doing everything that we can to put in place measures to protect our residents and staff, we know that this is a difficult time for many. Could you join with us to pray for those in our homes, those looking after them, and for their loved ones?

The Bible talks of the shield of faith and of God who is with us in difficult times. As we take practical steps to shield our residents and staff please pray that all our staff and residents will know God’s presence and comfort and the reality of Psalm 23 “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”.

Pray with us