Message from HFH - Coronavirus communication - 24 March 2020

Dear Clients

This unprecedented national emergency is a challenging and worrying time for all of us, and particularly for you, our clients. HFH are focused on working with you to maintain care and well-being in your home.

It is important that all of us across the country work to the national directions from Public Health England and the government which are designed to ensure:

  • All people practice social distancing to increase protection
  • Those at most risk from COVID-19 self-isolate and are protected to reduce the risk
  • Key workers and equipment are targeted where they are most needed and effective

For us at HFH this means ensuring we continue to support you, our clients in your homes through competent Carers who understand your needs and the use of good hygiene and PPE (personal protective equipment).

Our HFH team, including our Carers, Nurse Case Managers and Care Co-ordinators are identified and recognised by the government as critical key workers who are being supported so they are able to continue to work to support you.

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of you, your households and our staff following the national directions to minimise risk of cross infection.

  • members of the public who are not key workers practice social distancing and do not travel unnecessarily, to minimise risk to key workers travelling to and from work
  • all members of the public and their households, including homecare clients and key workers, follow social distancing guidance to minimise contact and risk of infection to key workers travelling to and from work
  • all members of the public and their households, including homecare clients and key workers, follow social isolation guidance should they show signs of COVID-19 infection to minimise risk of infection across the community

We need you to:

  • adhere with you household and carer team to the national directions -  especially regarding good hygiene and appropriate use of PPE
  • follow social distancing and social isolation guidance in your daily life and that of your household
  • if you or a member of your household are unwell, inform your Carer and Care Co-ordinator (or On Call Care Co-ordinator) immediately. A member of our clinical team will contact you to discuss the situation

Our central office support teams are working hard in the background to keep our services running and our staff and yourselves informed and supported.

This includes:

  1. Recruiting and training additional Carers to provide essential resilience and back-up to your Core Carer team:

We have increased our recruitment and training activities.

We will continue to support you with Carers who have the competency to understand and support your needs, and maintain you Core Carer team as much as possible.

However, in this exceptional, time

    • we will have high levels of absence and
    • we will need to support you through Carers who are “new to you”
    • there might not be time for our normal  “meet and greet” process to take place. Our Care Co-ordinators and Nurse Case Managers will ensure
    • you are contacted as soon as possible when we are aware that one of your team is unable to work.
    • you will be well informed about any “new to you” Carers coming to support you
    • our Care Co-ordinators and Nurse Case Managers will support you and your new carer to ensure you receive safe and appropriate care and support
    • your Nurse Case Manager will continue to visit you and your carers at your home to ensure safe clinical support

We understand that having someone you have not met before in your home, supporting your very personal care may be an additional worry for you at this time, and may cause you to become upset or angry.

If you do need to express your fear and frustration please do not take it out personally on our staff. We are working hard to support you and all our clients’ and we ask you to work with us to keep you in your home.

Our objective is to maintain your Core Carer team, and this is our priority

The training and employment of members of your family to support you is not normally recommended practice by the Commissioners, CQC or HFH. However, for the duration of the crisis if there is a shortfall in your team we can provide specialised training for a family member to support you.

You will need to nominate them and feel comfortable with them undertaking this role.

They will need to be willing and able to:

  • undertake training with your Nurse Case Manager and you in your home
  • successfully complete competency sign off that they have the skills and knowledge to support you.
  • work in line with HFH working practices, working time directive

If you have a family member that you want, and they are willing, to work for us to help support you in these difficult times please let your Care Co-ordinator know and we will investigate further with you, and them, to see if this is a practical and safe solution.

This arrangement would be for a limited period of time for the duration of the crisis and not a long-term solution as it is not in line with national recommendations and best practice.

However, if after the crisis your friend or family member wished to explore the opportunity to continue to work with HFH but with a different client we would be very happy to explore that with them.

During this exceptional time, if you refuse a competent carer with the skills to meet your needs we cannot guarantee that we will be able to provide an alternative.

  1. Minimising the risk of cross infection through good hygiene:
  • The most effective way to protect yourself from infections like COVID-19 is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds with soap and water. 
  • Please to continue providing handwash to our Carers to keep everyone safe, if you are facing any difficulty in this, please contact us.
  1. Appropriate use of normal personal protective equipment (PPE):
  • We have enough gloves and aprons for normal use with our clients, and supplies will continue to be delivered directly to your home.
  • Provided we and other health and social care staff use equipment as normal when you are well there is enough supply nationally.
  • Please remember that PPE is provided to provide protection and support for you and your Carers within your home and must not be used for any other purpose.
  • If client PPE is used for reasons outside the norm this may create a shortage in supply, which is an increased risk to you and your Carers.
  • If you are concerned about the way in which your Carers are using the PPE, please contact your Care Co-ordinator for advice from the clinical team.
  1. If you or a member of your household develop potential COVID-19 symptoms:
    • New continuous cough
    • High temperature
  • Please contact your Care Co-ordinator or the On-call Care Co-ordinator immediately.
  • They will contact a member of the clinical team who will call your back to find out more information, provide you with the appropriate advice, and send you the correct additional Personal Protective Equipment (including instructions on how and when to use it).
  1. Remote working and resilience across the Central Office support team

Our Leadership Team update and guide our Central Office and Carer teams on Government guidance on a daily basis.

Over the last 3 weeks we have been putting in place the technology and processes to enable a significant proportion of our central team to work remotely and support you and your Carers in your homes.

  • This gives us stronger resilience across our team to maintain the support you and our Carers need.
  • There will still be a small team of staff in our central office.
  • We introduced and tested this way of working last week with some of our staff, and we are rolling it out with immediate effect.
  • With this way of working, sometimes when you contact us your call will be picked up by an HFH team member who will ask the reason for your call and then either put you through to the person you need to talk to or arrange a call back within an agreed period of time.
  • Your Care Co-ordinator and Nurse Case Manager will be maintaining regular contact with you and your carers to check on your well-being, answer questions and support you.
  • Our Nurse Case Managers will continue to visit you in your home as required to support you and your Carers

This is a rapidly progressing situation. We are endeavouring to keep you informed and will continue to do so with emails a minimum of twice a week. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact your Care Co-ordinator, or our Clinical Governance Team.

We realise this is a worrying time, but by communicating and working together we will achieve the best level of support and reassurance we can.

Yours sincerely

Paula Friend

Managing Director

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