We found the following examples of good practice
We spoke with people and asked them if they felt safe whilst using the services. Comments included, “We are absolutely, 100 per cent in safe hands”, “I cannot fault them, they follow everything they have been taught”, “They are good company for me, and they always wear masks and gloves”, “Everything is spot on” and “They are caring compassionate staff, they have done a remarkable job”.
On our arrival to the centre we were greeted by a member of staff and asked to provide our Covid Pass to show our vaccination status and evidence that we had completed a Lateral Flow Test (LFT). All visitors provided contact details to support the track and trace system. Vaccination status was checked for all contractors and health and social care professionals in line with legislation that had come into effect in November 2021.
The emotional wellbeing of people and their families had been supported throughout the pandemic. All visiting arrangements at the centre followed government guidance and these were adjusted dependent on whether there was an outbreak. In the event of an outbreak the manager had ensured people had access to a nominated Essential Care Giver (ECG). This was usually a family member, but an alternative significant other would be nominated for those who did not have family. Enhanced risk assessments ensured this was managed safely and that all relevant testing and the use of PPE was maintained at all times. End of life visits had also been supported and respected so that people could spend time with those people who were important to them.
Staff welfare and mental health was paramount in ensuring they received the kindness and support they required as individuals, so that they felt valued. Staff recognised their responsibility to protect the people they cared for and how crucial it was that when they were not at work, they respected and followed government guidelines to reduce their own exposure to risks. The managers spoke with us about the continued commitment and team work. Staff had access to occupational health and an employee assistant programme. They had a health and well-being plan and where necessary a risk assessment and support plan to help protect them. There was a learning programme which helped staff practice, relaxation and breathing techniques. Celebrating success and recognising staff commitment was evident. Staff often wrote messages to each other thanking them, we were told this had been a positive initiative to increase morale. Comments included, “Thank you for your energy, passion, enthusiasm, hard work and knowledge, your support is endless, “For always being cheerful and lovely to work with and for making me laugh when I feel down” and “Thank you for being a lovely lady and keeping the cogs turning single handedly in the background”.
The centre was clean and there were good systems in place to ensure cleaning schedules were completed and that enhanced cleaning took place for regular touch points. We met two domestic staff during our visit, and we remarked on the cleanliness. They clearly worked hard to maintain the standards required.
The providers workforce contingency plan had ensured people’s safety and quality of care had not been compromised. People continued to receive prompt medical attention when they became unwell and relationships with health professionals remained strong. When people were admitted to the centre, risk assessments were completed, and people isolated in line with current guidance. Social distancing was encouraged throughout the centre. Where this was not achievable, staff were aware of the need for enhanced cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and people were supported to wash their hands regularly.
Audits were undertaken for both services, and actions would be taken to ensure improvements were made if necessary. Staff had received IPC training and regular updates were provided. Spot checks in the community took place to check staff understanding and compliance with the use of PPE and infection prevention and control practices. There was effective, supportive communication between the provider, managers, staff, people using the services and their relatives.