28th March 2020

This is day 19 of our journey, and I hope you are all well and looking after yourselves.

Did you hear the applause on Thursday night? It was for NHS and social care staff who are doing a great job on the frontline. We are extremely lucky to have some amazing staff here.

We understand that our resident who went to hospital and was confirmed with COVID-19 is doing well and we are sending all our love. Once clear of the virus we will welcome her back and have a small celebration. We will always keep someone’s room for them and our commitment to people who may have to go to hospital will be to do our best to get them back to our – and their – home.

We will begin to see increasing numbers of people with symptoms, even if these are not COVID-19. Our methodology is to treat people with potential symptoms as if they have the virus, and try to isolate them as much as we can without causing distress. If we are concerned about your relative we will contact you.

Apologies for the brief update, yesterday was hectic. If you pay your Council Tax to Bury we had your monies worth over the last few days. The support has been excellent. If you get a chance to email your local councillor or MP, do say thank you for us – the support has made a huge difference.

Our supplies, staffing levels and medication stocks are all good. We are having one or two problems with a few food items, particularly rice for some reason – so if you own a paddy field, please get in touch!

I hope you all had a good Shabbos and wishing you a lovely weekend,

Mark Cunningham,

CEO


 

26th March 2020

 

It is important for you to know that if a resident presents with symptoms of COVID-19 on the unit where we care for your relative, we will contact you directly to explain and discuss further. 

A resident living on our Oakwood unit, who went into hospital on Tuesday, has been confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19. The person remains in hospital and we are sending all our love to this person and their family. 

We are reviewing the other residents of this unit, keeping a close eye on them and keeping their families informed. A number of staff members have gone into self-isolation.

We had already begun to manage our care units more individually and separately to minimise movement of staff around site.  We are continuing to refine and implement these plans.

Our hygiene regime and plans have helped us up to now and we will continue to follow the guidance provided daily to us by Public Health England and Bury Council.

It is reassuring to note that:

  • We have plenty of facemasks and personal protective equipment. Staff will be supplied with these as they are needed
  • Our food stocks and supplies are fine
  • There are no problems with medication supply

 

I know this news will make you worried and anxious but we are working extremely hard to keep everyone safe.

Thank you so much to the person who came in and dropped off the mini hand gel bottles which will be distributed to as many staff as possible.

Thank you as well to Rayburn Trading who donated the staff goody bags containing chocolate and treats for our social care heroes.

I know some of you are ready and waiting to come in and help us. Trust me when I say that you are part of our back-up plan – our super-subs on the bench. We know you are there and when we need you we will ask.

Keep well all of you. Continue to enjoy our social media posts.  We are trying to promote happiness and reassure your loved ones.

Just today, we have celebrated one resident’s birthday – both with family joining virtually on Skype, and with his Fed Family together in the Activity Centre; we have enjoyed a full range of activities; and our Golf Course in the Garden has never been more popular. Cards and letters continue to arrive from across the community and our residents feel as loved and cared for as any other day.

Mark Cunningham,

CEO


 

25th March 2020

Today is day sixteen of our Coronavirus lock-down. We are managing some huge challenges and we know there are plenty more to come.

There are no diagnosed cases of COVID-19 at the Village or amongst our staff.

Unfortunately, we are not able to send out updates everyday so please don’t be concerned if a day goes by without hearing from us. We will continue to keep you informed and up to date as often as possible.

It was a real treat earlier today to be able to wish ‘good morning’ to staff – some finishing the night shift, and others arriving for the day – in their droves. They are truly a bunch of heroes. You can see some photos of them being greeted this morning on our facebook page .

We have been putting in place a number of measures to help keep our workforce well; providing free meals; additional paid sick pay to support those who are ill; and stocking our Village shop with essential food items which we don’t usually sell to make shopping easier for staff.

We have circulated your many very touching goodwill messages to our staff, too. Thank you for these – they make a huge difference. As a society, we have always loved and embraced the NHS, and it is fantastic that our social care heroes are getting the recognition they equally deserve.

And by the way – some of our residents were out playing golf on the front lawn today. We were officially the only golf course in the UK open for business! You can see photos of this, and our other activities from today, on our various social media channels too!

Mark Cunningham,

CEO


 

 23rd March 2020

I very much hope that you were able to celebrate Mother’s Day with your families in some small way over the weekend. We did try to do our bit and opened up the Heathlands Village wine cellar to cheer people up!

We have no diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the Village and no residents or tenants who have clear symptoms.  An increased number of staff are self-isolating but this week we will be welcoming back some members of staff who were previously self-isolating.

I hope some of the events which we have posted on social media have helped to raise your spirits. The other positive news is that we seemed to have resolved the parking issue at the Village!

I very much appreciate how difficult a situation this is and would ask for your support with a number of issues:

Visiting the Village:

Where possible we are asking relatives not to visit, and unfortunately we cannot facilitate ‘distance’ meetings via windows or across the garden. Although this seems like a lovely idea, in reality it can be very upsetting and unsettling for residents and difficult for our staff team to manage.

If you need to visit to drop something off please may I ask you to leave it at Eventhall House reception, with clear instructions as to who the item is for, and who from.

Very disappointingly, a couple of visitors were rude to our reception staff over the weekend. These employees are on the front line of keeping our residents safe. Please support them and recognise how stressful their role can be. Fortunately, in general, family members have shown great patience and understanding of the current situation for which we are very grateful. Hopefully these incidents are a one-off.

Special Visits:

As you may be aware, there are a number of people in our care who are approaching the end of their life. This is unrelated to COVID-19. In these circumstances, we are able to permit family visits. If you hear that someone has been able to visit a resident of Heathlands Village, please respect the fact that it might be as a result of these very difficult circumstances.

Staff Travel:

We are assessing the impact of reductions being made to the public transport network. Some of our staff need to take two – and sometimes even three – buses to get to work, and the same number home. We are looking at how we can support them with travel and may need to enlist a limited number of volunteers to bring designated members of staff into work and to take them home again, subject to certain conditions. If we need to implement this we will let you know.

Thank you for all the good wishes we have been receiving which we have shared with our Fed heroes.

Mark Cunningham,

CEO


20th March 2020

Firstly, apologies for this being only a brief update.

We have no confirmed cases of COVID-19, or people displaying clear symptoms, at the Village.

The sunshine has meant that many residents have been able to enjoy a stroll outside – have a peep on social media for a video of two delightful ladies offering words of wisdom from our front garden. While you’re there you can view some members of staff using long-forgotten talents to keep our residents suitably coiffured! 

We have received quite a lot of guidance today from Public Health England and the Local Council on various protocols, which we are implementing. 

We are not short of anything we need in terms of supplies and we are meeting the workforce challenges well. 

We are exploring how to support staff affected by school closures and the reduced public transport services.

Our Senior Management Team is working a seven day rota to provide support to all of our teams. Our Community Services Teams deserve special recognition for the way in which they are helping those elderly people who are home alone. 

We will be reviewing our plans for Pesach next week and hope to clarify these for all concerned.

I am conscious that Mother’s Day this year will be tinged with mixed emotions but we intend to make it joyful and it will be scones and cream all round!

Thank you to everyone for their good wishes and support. We circulate your letters and emails to all our staff and they are morale boosting and heart-warming. 

We will endeavour to catch up with you in full on Monday, but will be posting on social media from Sunday onwards. 

Thank you for your support and patience.

Mark Cunningham,

CEO


 

19th March 2020

As you know, we are doing our very best to keep you updated on a regular basis and I am very grateful for your patience and understanding.

There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Heathlands Village, nor is anyone displaying clear symptoms.

Our staff are continuing to follow the guidance provided by Public Health England (PHE).  We had direct contact with them today and they confirmed that the information shared with you yesterday is correct.

We have been contacted by a number of individuals telling us they represent the Government, PHE, the Council or the Press. The majority of these calls have been verified as either scams or people misrepresenting themselves. We are not responding to press enquiries from individuals or organisations we do not know. As a result, if you contact us, our Customer Services Team may ask you for more information than usual.

From tomorrow, a temporary security guard will be stationed at our main entrance, supplied by the Community Security Trust (CST). This is to reassure staff and help enhance our site security at this unpredictable time. We are hugely grateful to the CST, who despite the challenges we all face, continue to look after us.

It would help if you could let us know in advance if you are intending to visit to drop off any items for loved ones. Our Customer Services Team can let the security guard know to expect you.

We also want to let you know that we have decided to close our CHARITY BOX shop in Cheetham Hill for the time being, so please do not take donated goods there.  Similarly we cannot accept them at Heathlands Village either.

We are continuing to post some lovely good news stories on social media; please look us up – we hope they will help lift your spirits.

Our Activity Centre staff are working tirelessly to set up video calls and facetime sessions between our residents and their loved ones during the Heathlands Village lockdown. If you would like to set up an appointment, please contact Shoshi Black on shoshi.black@thefed.org.uk.

Mark Cunningham,

CEO


 

18th March 2020

I appreciate how difficult the current situation may be for you all and I can only thank you for your good wishes, support, understanding and kind words.

We began to take protective measures and plan around the Coronavirus over six weeks ago, and these decisions have served us well.

There has been a recent development which we must draw your attention to. We admitted a gentleman to the NHS Discharge to Assess Unit (D2A) in Eventhall House on 11th March. Having come into our care from hospital free of symptoms, on 15th March he developed symptoms of Coronavirus and returned to hospital the following day.

We were informed this morning that he tested positive. Our thoughts and good wishes are with him and his family.

For the time being, we will not be admitting anyone to – or discharging anyone from – this unit.

We have taken advice from Public Health England who state that it is NOT necessary for any staff who came into contact with this gentleman to self-isolate. This is only required if they should develop symptoms. 

No other patients on D2A, or residents of Heathlands Village, are showing any symptoms, nor any staff member. 

The advice is simply that we continue to follow the hand hygiene and infection control measures already in place. We have face-masks available for staff use should Public Health England at any time direct us that these need to be used – this is only necessary if we are caring for someone with symptoms of the virus.

We are sorry to have to relate this news to you knowing that this is likely to cause you additional anxiety, but please be reassured that we are, as ever, being as proactive as possible, seeking regular advice and following it to the letter with professionalism and calm.

There are further updates we want to share with you to illustrate how we are managing things generally:

We are currently part of a briefing network which includes the National Care Forum, the Jewish Leadership Council and Bury Council and Clinical Commissioning Group. The decisions that we are making are informed by our collaboration with these groups and instructions from Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission.

As you will appreciate, things have been changing daily, but I hope the following information will re-assure you that we are doing everything we can to keep our residents and workforce safe and well.

You will be aware that we have cancelled or suspended many of the services we deliver from Heathlands Village. Most of the organisations that use us as a base are now working off site and most of our back-office staff are now working remotely.

We have restricted visitors to our home and cancelled all non-essential meetings. Before visitors even get through our front door, a team of volunteers are asking them if the purpose of their visit is essential, if they are symptom free, and prompting good hand hygiene.  You may hear that we have contractors on site. Those working on Willow Tree House are in an area separate from the rest of the village. There are others who are not separate, who are completing essential health and safety and fire safety work. It would be folly not to allow this.

Sadly, our Communal Seder has been cancelled. We have not yet clarified arrangements for our main Seder, but we are taking advice from the Beis Din.

We are not providing day services and most of the guests who we were expecting for respite care for Pesach are no longer coming. We are however still admitting anyone who would otherwise be left with no care at home and thus placed at risk.

We have no problems or interruptions to our food supply and delivery chain and no problems with medication supply. Our catering team has already produced and frozen over two weeks of meals as a contingency measure.

We have stocks of cleaning products.  These are under pressure, but we are working with Bury Council and the NHS for re-supply.

Generally, our workforce is well and in work, the new advice of 14 day’s isolation is a significant challenge. The additional challenge will come if staff are affected by school closures or the need to support their own relatives.

Everyone is working extremely hard, supporting each other and doing their upmost to reassure and care for our residents.

At this stage we believe we have enough staffing resources to provide cover if needed, by drawing on staff from different departments and avoiding the use of agency staff. We are providing additional training in-house if required.

Thank you to all of you who have volunteered to help as care givers. At this moment in time the best strategy is for us to limit resident contact with families but if staffing levels were to deteriorate, we would consult with you and potentially invite your help and support.

Please be assured that if your relative becomes unwell or significantly distressed we would find a way for you to visit.

We will still encourage residents to attend medical appointments or clinical reviews if these are critical, but the likelihood is, they will be cancelled by the GP or NHS.

We will try to put as much information as possible on social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter. If you have not yet embraced social media maybe now is a good time.  You can follow our day to day news and access information via:

For twitter: @FED_Manchester

For Facebook: @THEFEDManchseter

If you are not receiving this email directly and would like to do so, please email

info@thefed.org.uk

You will need to tell us your relative’s names, the relationship to you and your email address.

Of course, you can still phone your relative’s care unit to see how they are doing and leave anything for them such as letters, presents, chocolate or magazines at either reception.

We are changing our activity programme to help keep people active and entertained and we are hoping to expand our Skype abilities so that more residents can keep in touch with loved ones via video.

Our hope is that the unprecedented challenges we face, will turn out to be character building rather than life changing.

We are drawing our strength and resolve from your amazing relatives and loved ones who are a lesson in stoicism and courage – and a great privilege for us to care for.

Mark Cunningham

CEO


 

16th March 2020

We are revising our arrangements day to day.

We have therefore taken the decision to stop all volunteering on site at Heathlands Village.

We do have volunteers outside the entrance to Heathlands Village, and this will continue to help us manage the safety of our residents.

Arrangement are also being made to ensure resident activities continue with our in-house staff.

If circumstance change down the line, we may need to call upon our volunteers for additional help as the situation develops.

Once again, we thank the community for their understanding during this difficult time. The health and safety of our residents is always of paramount concern to us.

Mark Cunningham

CEO


15th March 2020

The Fed’s top priority is the safety and protection of those in our care.

As communicated earlier in the week The Fed has taken a number of steps to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at Heathlands Village. These include placing external hand sanitising stations at the main entrances, installing extra hand sanitisers internally around the Village and instituting a deep-cleaning regime that is being carried out multiple times daily by our tireless housekeeping team.

Following advice from the Department of Health, all staff and residents are being reminded to wash their hands at every opportunity, which represents the most essential way of combating the spread of the disease.

As of Sunday morning 15th March, we have also taken the very difficult and painful decision that in order to keep our residents, along with our staff and volunteers safe, we have suspended all visits to Heathlands Village.

Exceptions to this will be for relatives visiting loved ones receiving end of life care and visiting medical professionals. To support this, we will do whatever we can to help facilitate phone calls, FaceTime or a Skype call with a loved one instead of a physical visit.

We understand that this will be distressing for both residents in our homes and their relatives, however it is important that we take all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus to those we care for.

All Children’s Groups & and the Pesach Play Scheme are also unfortunately cancelled.

It is important to note that no one at Heathlands Village is currently unwell with coronavirus.

Contingency and response plans are in place for various scenarios which may occur as a result of coronavirus impacting the UK more widely. The Fed is regularly reviewing the situation, and our Directors are meeting every day to review the situation, along with our measures and plans. Our Trustees are also being kept informed of all decisions.

The Fed will continue to be led by the advice issued by Public Health England, the UK Government and the World Health Organisation.

Once again, in the face of this serious and almost entirely unprecedented time of international concern, we thank the community for its support for our decision making.

Mark Cunningham
Chief Executive Officer

Karen Johnson
Director of Clinical Services

Anyone with specific concerns or wanting more information is asked to contact Raphi Bloom, Director of Fundraising and Marketing, on 0161 772 4800 or raphi.bloom@thefed.org.uk