16th October 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
After a turbulent week in Greater Manchester, we have been waiting to consider the implications of any increase in the local lockdown or tier restrictions. As I go ‘to press’ there are no further changes.
Yesterday, the Government did update its guidance to care homes on visiting. For local areas with a high local COVID alert level (high risk or very high risk), visiting should be limited to exceptional circumstances only, such as end of life. Effectively, therefore, we remain as we were.
Whilst Boris and Burnham continue their debate, we have been busy. Our aim is to have everything in place to facilitate safe visits as soon as the restrictions allow.
Today we installed temperature and mask scanners in both receptions. At main reception if you fail the scan, the door simply does not open and key staff are alerted. This is part of our long term strategy to facilitate safe visiting.
We now have the completed plans for our “People Pods” and hope to begin construction of these as soon as possible, as well as sharing visuals of them with you next week.
There will be five pods in total and they will be completed to a spec that keeps everyone safe and the Fire Brigade happy. As previously mentioned, we see the construction of the pods as a long-term investment that will help to ensure that people get to see their loved one on a regular basis. We are also exploring other ideas with infection control that would support safe visiting.
Our regular swab testing continues to highlight random positive tests, particularly amongst staff. Again, the real challenges are those people who haven’t been ‘Test & Traced’ and do not have symptoms – but are COVID positive. Our in-house testing regime is proving vital as a backstop, and where a test has been positive we have been able to inform and isolate quickly.
We have had a positive test in the main building, although this individual has previously tested positive some time ago and is asymptomatic, so we are awaiting a re-test. Similarly, we have had positive tests in Eventhall House but the individuals are asymptomatic and we are awaiting re-tests.
I appreciate any positive test anywhere in the Village will cause anxiety but the Clinical team are extremely proactive, vigilant and professional. Our care and support staff continue to work in very challenging conditions and as we all now know, wearing a mask for prolonged periods adds another dimension to the skilled work they undertake.
There will be a delay to any planned moves until we have confirmed that there is no infection in those areas.
I would like to pay tribute to all our staff who are juggling their own responsibilities with children, their own elderly parents, travel restrictions, financial worries and health concerns, and who yet turn up and make a difference every single day to the lives of the people we care for.
The fantastic pictures of the Simchas Torah lunches around the Village shows the hard work that goes into making every day meaningful for our residents and tenants.
Thank you for your continued patience, encouragement and support,
8th October 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Today is our Day 213.
In a week that has been dominated by the news of rising virus rates across Greater Manchester, we have been completely focused on keeping the Village, our residents, and our staff safe.
Our latest swab testing results have been very useful in monitoring the health of our workforce. Our staff are being extremely diligent and aware when it comes to reporting symptoms and whilst we have seen several staff members test positive, the source of the infection is clearly linked to family members who are at school or college.
Vigilance and robust PPE measures remain our best defence.
I stood in the socially distanced queue for my flu injection this morning with a group of colleagues, and felt very proud of a number of people who had clearly overcome their fears because “it is the right thing to do – we have to keep people safe”. Of course, for many, the promise of a Fed sticker and chocolate was enough motivation in itself!
We are continuing with the development of our move plans and I know the teams are working hard to have conversations and make sure everyone is kept in the picture. Our aim is to keep disruption to a minimum and to ensure that everyone is well cared for throughout the changes.
As we look forward to Simchas Torah, we hope to ensure that the celebration is a joyous and meaningful one for all concerned – with particular thanks to our Catering team for creating such a delicious menu.
We hope to be able to share some plans and pictures of our new people pods soon, and want to reassure everyone that our absolute ambition and commitment is to connect people with each other as soon as possible.
Please take care, thank you for your support, and may I take the opportunity to wish you Good Yom Tov,
30th September 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Over the past 200+ days we have been met with the sort of challenges no one could have ever envisaged 12 months ago. In the face of the devastating impact of Coronavirus, we have been resilient, innovative, proactive and focused.
However, we cannot ignore the long-term impact of the virus on our services and the people we care for. The number of people we care for at the Village has significantly reduced; this is not just the direct result of COVID-19, but also the impact it has had on admissions and the respite care we offer.
Current restrictions make safe admissions very difficult for all concerned and it will be a while before Village life returns to its full potential.
The financial impact on our charity has been significant and whilst we have benefited from amazing communal support and the National Care Home emergency appeal, we are very much aware of the immediate fundraising challenges that the charity sector faces. Therefore, we must explore ways to reduce our costs, otherwise our long-term sustainability may be threatened.
Sadly, this will mean us closing several of our care households and relocating residents.
The changes will not directly impact on any residents or tenants living on:
- Beach House
- First Floor Residential
Willow Tree House will remain closed for now.
It will be necessary to move some or all the residents who currently live on:
- Hamburger (Unit 2)
- Simon Jenkins Nursing Unit.
Effectively we will be moving our general nursing care to the main building.
Oakwood and the current Discharge to Assess unit will remain on Eventhall House.
I appreciate that this news comes at a time when most people are unable to visit their relative and it has the potential to cause anxiety and concern. Everyone affected will be contacted by a member of our care team to explain what potential moves will take place and how this change will be managed.
Our aim is to cause as little disruption as possible and ensure continuity of care.
These moves will enable us to maximise our support of people, and for teams to support each other through what will undoubtedly prove to be a very challenging winter. The changes will also support our infection control plans and our safe visiting proposals.
The changes will allow us to save money and more importantly safeguard jobs.
We have not taken this decision lightly and some disruption is inevitable. We hope to have completed all the moves before the end of October.
We held a staff briefing today and we will be talking to all the residents affected by the moves, considering each person’s communication needs and understanding.
If affected you will be contacted by one of our Team Leaders, Clinical Managers, or Admissions Manager and we will fully explain everything to you.
Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding through what is an unbelievably difficult time for everyone. Our absolute commitment is to ensure the wellbeing, health and happiness of all our residents and to return our Village life to normal as soon as possible.
29th September 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Welcome to Day 204.
Firstly, I want to update everyone that the resident who previously tested positive in Eventhall House last week has subsequently tested negative. With no other positive tests in this area, it is being treated as a false positive test by Bury infection control.
We are continuing our regime of testing, and know that issues like this will crop up. False positive tests are unlikely – but they do happen. We are being as vigilant and as thorough as possible to keep everyone safe and well.
Our residents have all received their flu injections via their GP, and next week we will be offering all of our staff free flu injections. This is being offered in partnership with Bury CCG who will be undertaking the injections on site.
We normally have a high take-up of staff who sign up for the injections, but this year are hoping for even higher participation. This is another way in which we are working to keep everyone safe.
With no end to restrictions in sight, we have made representation to Bury Council, the Director of Public Health and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership regarding care home visiting. We believe that we can re-introduce a safe visiting regime, alongside a ‘dynamic risk assessment’, that will enable visits to take place while continuing to minimise any risk of infection.
I am sure many of you are frustrated and sad regarding the enforced separation from your loved one and are worried about the impact this absence will have. We are therefore preparing the Village for a long-term safe visiting programme.
We will be creating a number of internal visitor pods in areas across the Village. These will allow face to face visits to take place indoors behind screens, and will limit access to the building and avoid the use of communal spaces.
Our building represents a number of challenges, not least in that there are many people who do not live on the ground floor and that accessible ground floor space is limited. There are also fire safety restrictions which we need to observe.
We have a design and construction team who will be working together to produce the pods and we hope to install them as soon as possible. There is currently a significant shortage of Perspex both locally and nationally (makes a change from toilet rolls!) but we are working on this.
Once we have the plans in hand, we will be presenting our risk assessment to the Director of Public Health and hope to recommence visiting. We will re-open the booking line and will let you know as far in advance as we can when this is likely to happen.
There will be some changes to the visiting procedures in line with Government advice and one thing we will be asking is that visitors use the NHS App.
Next week we will be installing temperature scanners in both of our reception areas. This is yet another measure which will help us to manage our workforce and minimise the risk of infection.
Thank you for your ongoing support and patience.
22nd September 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
I am writing this update following Boris Johnson’s address to the House of Commons about the new restrictions coming into force. This was not the start to the New Year we were looking for and has rather dented our hopes to move forward regarding activities and visiting.
We will of course be looking at how these changes impact on both the care we give at Heathlands Village, as well as in the community to the many isolated and elderly people we help.
We introduced swab testing across site over a week ago. There are currently issues with the timeline when it comes to us getting the results back as they are taking too long for some people – but we hope to see this improve.
One of our routine tests did show us that we had a resident who returned a positive swab result in Eventhall House. The resident does not have any symptoms and has been with us for some time. So far, we have not had any staff members test positive in this area. There is some potential for this to be a false positive result, so we have re-tested all staff and all residents and await the outcome of these tests.
The greatest challenge we face is the fact that some people can contract COVID-19 and never display any symptoms. We know this can be the case through the antibody testing we did in July and August.
As previously explained, when we come across a positive test, we isolate the individual and restrict access to that area.
We constantly reinforce the need for handwashing, PPE (especially facemasks) and distancing – although this is difficult for our staff if they are giving personal care. The new Government message of Hands, Face, Space is a clear indication of how everyone can take responsibility for keeping each other safe – and more information can be viewed in this video.
We are looking for some long terms solutions to the current visiting restrictions and hope to receive further guidance from Public Health England.
Thank you for your continued patience and support.
11th September 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Today marks the 186th day of our Journey, and I am pleased to report that the Village remains virus free.
Sadly, as you may know, Bury has joined most of Greater Manchester in the ‘red zone’, putting us at risk of further Government intervention. The two areas with the highest rates of infection are Whitefield and Prestwich, where the infection rate has shot up by almost 60%.
The infection rate has particularly increased among people aged 18-39 and this poses significant risks in terms of inter-generational visits.
There has been much discussion about care home visiting in the recent news; some care homes have allowed no visitors at all since March. As you know we began facilitating outside visits in June, moving to safe, indoor visits in July. Throughout that period, we were able to support nearly 900 meetings between family members.
We have waited with bated breath for news of a relaxation in the local lockdown situation – we have even had staff on standby to re-start the visiting booking scheme – but sadly we have been unable to implement these plans.
The local lockdown arrangements give us no discretion whatsoever in terms of visitors. What was previously guidance is now a requirement. This is backed by potential action enforced by the Council, as well as both Public Health England and the CQC.
I can only imagine how difficult and upsetting the current situation is for you as relatives, and for our residents, having glimpsed light at the end of the tunnel only for it to be swiftly snuffed out.
In the month of August 2019 we had approximately 4,200 visitors to the Village. In August 2020, that figure was 122 and the majority of those visitors were professionals.
It is a dramatic change and one we are very conscious of. We have raised the issue of visits at both a local political level and via representation from Care England. We believe our previous policy and procedures were sufficient to keep everyone safe, and our hope is that we can re-instate this programme at the earliest opportunity as we recognise how valuable family contact is.
I know many of you are upset and frustrated, and we share your distress.
We will continue to do our absolute best to keep everyone safe and as soon as the requirements change we will put our plans back in place as quickly as possible.
You may wish to take a look at the Residents & Relatives Association website which is pressing the Government on its decision-making regarding care homes: http://www.relres.org/
This Sunday we will be starting our regular swabbing programme with support from Bury Infection Control. From Sunday to Tuesday we will be swabbing and testing all of our residents, together with as many staff as we can. This will be more than 500 people, which as you can imagine presents a huge logistical challenge. However, the results of these regular swabs will help us to identify potential sources of infection and help protect everyone in the Village.
Despite having over 350 staff, our infection rate has been low. This is entirely due to our workforce being responsible, respecting the advice on masks, social distancing and hand hygiene, and taking immediate, appropriate action if feeling unwell. I am so proud of everyone in this respect. We have all seen people who have chosen to ignore the advice given, but our teams know they are protecting their family and our Fed family – our residents and colleagues. This takes discipline, commitment and professionalism.
We gave all our staff thank you cards and Fed Hero badges this week to acknowledge the role they have played during the pandemic and are continuing to play going forward.
We hope to be able to clarify what arrangements we will have in place for Rosh Hashanah early next week, and we will let you all know what will be happening. Regardless of how the next few weeks unfold, life in the Village is firmly focused on the upcoming Festivals, and our residents are preparing in good spirits.
Thank you for your continued support, understanding and patience.
Wishing you a safe and restful weekend,
1st September 2020
Dear Friends and Relatives,
We have been asked to share the following information with you, which has come from Bury Council.
Our continuing thanks for your support and confidence.
“Coronavirus restrictions must remain until we get the rate down”
Health and council leaders say that Bury should remain under extra restrictions until the number of new Covid-19 cases comes down.
With Bury having one of the highest infection rates in England and rising – and being three times the national average – they agree with the Government that now is not the right time to lift measures and allow households to mix indoors.
Today, the Government is lifting three more Greater Manchester districts – Trafford, Bolton and Stockport – out of local restrictions due to falling infection rates in those boroughs.
Bury’s rate, however, has risen for the sixth consecutive week and now stands at 35.2 per 100,000 population. These numbers are likely to be even higher as not everyone notices their symptoms or gets tested.
Councillor Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We all want the Government to lift restrictions in Bury as soon as possible, but we accept that they must continue – our infection rate is increasing while the rate is falling elsewhere.
“It’s clear and simple – if cases don’t start to fall, we risk going back into lockdown.
“Unfortunately, too many people (who are not exempt) are not wearing masks in shops, are still meeting up in large groups from several households, and not keeping two metres apart. A few then catch the virus, and bring it home to spread among their families.
“The council and the police are carrying out enforcement of the restrictions, visiting a range of bars and restaurants and giving advice and in some cases warnings to premises which needed to toughen up their COVID-safe arrangements. We have also contacted all the supermarkets in Bury reminding them of their responsibilities and the need to enforce the wearing of face masks unless people are exempt.
“But ultimately the only thing that will work is for people to take responsibility for their actions and follow the guidance and the law.
“With schools and colleges about to reopen next week, it’s essential that we all work together to reduce the risks of transmission.”
The council is responsible for ensuring that premises are operating in accordance with the Covid-19 safety guidelines – any breaches can be reported to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org for pubs and bars and email@example.com for wider businesses.
Complaints regarding breaches of the law, such as households meeting each other indoors or in private gardens, should be reported to the police through their 111 number.
Cllr Simpson said the number of new coronavirus cases was spread evenly across all five neighbourhood areas in Bury.
“Some may argue that very small areas in Bury could have the restrictions lifted, but this is a recipe for confusion. If you lived in Elton, for example, would you know where the boundary was with Church ward?
“The virus knows no boundaries, and everyone from Ramsbottom down to Sedgley Park must unite to get the infection rate down.”
The restrictions in Bury are:
You must not meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden.
You must not visit someone else’s home or garden – even if they live outside the affected areas.
You should not socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.
Everyone (unless exempt) must also wear face coverings in shops/supermarkets, public transport, banks and post offices, cinemas/theatres, places of workshop, libraries/museums and community centres.
Wash your hands frequently and stay two metres apart wherever possible.
Lesley Jones, Bury’s director of public health, said: “Household transmission remains an important source of new infections, as people spread the virus they caught in the community to their families.
“Those aged 18-39 account for more than half of the new cases in Bury, and the percentage of positive tests has also increased.
“It is essential that people take part in the track and trace system, and self-isolate and get tested if they are contacted.
“We are shortly to open seven walk-in testing centres across the borough, which will make it easier for those without transport to be tested.
“Above all, this virus is spread through close contact with someone who is infected – just like other viruses such as the flu and common cold. That’s why it’s essential to maintain social distancing and exercise good hand hygiene.”
The Government has published a list of Frequently Asked Questions on what you can and cannot do: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-of-england-local-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do
Dear Friends and Relatives,
We quietly passed day 150 on Thursday.
It was a real pleasure to chat to so many of you on zoom this week. I recognise what a disappointment the cancellation of visits has been for everyone, but we will continue to monitor any changes in guidance and requirements which will allow us to resume.
We are currently upgrading all of our computers and screens and installing zoom across site to enable improved individual updates from Team Leaders regarding your relative. We will let you know as soon as this is ready to start.
There were a number of questions this week asking how we have been supporting our staff, who I know feature highly in terms of your admiration and respect for the work they have done during the pandemic. I thought I would share some of what we have done to help.
As I have mentioned to some you already, we have almost 400 employees and over the course of the pandemic have seen approximately 170 off work due to shielding, self-isolation or because they were ill.
Such an unprecedented event and crisis had a significant impact on staff welfare and wellbeing. We recognised this almost immediately once we started to see people becoming ill with COVID-19 on site.
All the staff who worked at Heathlands Village through March, April, May and June were on the frontline when it came to tackling the virus. The work was hard, often extremely hot, emotional, stressful, physically tiring and at times frightening. People were worried and fearful, and those who contracted COVID were, in the main, very unwell.
A few staff were very badly affected by the virus with one husband and wife team who both work for us ending up in intensive care. We are very grateful for the fact they both recovered.
We recognised that the use of agency staff increased the risk of cross infection and so where possible used our own bank staff or asked people to work overtime. However, staff had to be restricted to one household or unit to minimise risks. The pressure on the individual teams and managers was enormous.
We introduced a series of welfare measures to help support, reward and recognise the valiant efforts undertaken by our workforce. This initiative was led by our Quality and Training manager, Alison Lightfoot, and supported by our HR manager, Jo Ingber.
The support we offered was as comprehensive as circumstances would allow, and included:
- Access to employment support and advice
- Provision of occupational sick pay to employees who tested positive and who were not entitled to this benefit
- 1-1 welfare support from Alison Lightfoot
- Signposting to other sources of help (bereavement support, legal advice, counselling)
- Support from Impact psychology
- Transport to work via volunteers to minimise both infection risks and travel issues
- Top-up of furlough pay to 100% for first 12 weeks
- Provision of food parcels and essential shopping
- Free meals on duty (which remained in place until end of July)
- Flowers and gifts sent to people affected by bereavement
- Phased return to work plans
- Donated gifts and goody bags
- Donated food treats (ASDA, Dominoes, Subway)
- Fun quizzes with voucher prizes
- Provision of extra uniforms
- Thank you cards from the Board of Trustees
- Thank you, messages, and words of support, from relatives
- Masks for safe use of public transport and for family members
- Flowers sent to key members of teams as special recognition
- Information and guidance notes on how to keep safe
- Regular updates from CEO and Senior Team
- Most importantly – lots of chocolate
We should be very proud of the response and support we gave to our key workers, both as an organisation and as a community.
We are also very grateful for the support and gifts we received from many donors and relatives. The words of support and encouragement made a very special difference.
Take care and keep safe and well,
3rd August 2020
Dear Friends and Relatives,
Today marks Day 147.
In response to a number of queries, please see below the directive we have received from Bury Council regarding visits to Heathlands Village. We have to comply with this mandatory request:
Please find the following advice from the Bury Public Health team:
Visits to care homes
Following last night’s announcement (30/07/2020) about restrictions being put in place in Greater Manchester we advise that non-essential visits to residents in care homes, including garden visits, are suspended until further notice.
We will keep the situation under review and notify you when the advice changes.
Our visits booking line at Heathlands Village is currently suspended, but as soon as we are allowed, we will re-open the system. If you have any concerns or worries please contact the Team Leader or Nurse Manager for the household where your relative lives.
We will inform everyone when we visits can commence once again.
30th July 2020
As many of you will no doubt have seen on the news this evening, the Government has re-established a partial lockdown across much of the north of England, including the whole of Greater Manchester. This is in response to a number of spikes in COVID-19 cases across the region.
As such, we have taken the preemptive decision to suspend all visits to Heathlands Village until further notice.
We understand that this will be distressing to those of you with visits booked in over the next few days, but this decision has been reached by considering the necessary precautions we need to take to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. As from day one, we endeavour to be as far ahead of the curve as possible with regard to keeping the virus at bay and this decision is rooted firmly in that aim.
We will continue to monitor the advice from the Government and Public Health England and will keep you informed with any developments as they arise.
Once again thanking you for your continued support and trust,
17th July 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Today marks our 130th day, and we are increasingly seeing some things return to normality in the Village.
Please accept my apologies for the brief update this week. Operationally, we have seen a lot of familiar pressures return – which we take as a good sign.
Our visiting regime continues on the same basis, utilising what we believe are safe and positive arrangements for all concerned. The Government has still not issued formal guidelines for care home visitors, and many other homes are still not allowing visitors within their buildings.
We believe that if safely done, following all the PPE and social distancing guidance, that there are real benefits for everyone, particularly in relation to people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Please continue to follow the procedures and if you are unwell or have been in contact with someone who has had COVID-19 symptoms do not visit. The Village remains virus free and we aim to keep it this way. Any positive test on site would undoubtedly result in us closing visits in the household affected.
Thank you for your ongoing support and patience.
9th July 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
We’ve now reached Day 122.
Thank you to everyone for your feedback and support regarding the changes to the visiting system we have in place. This regime will remain in place for the time being, and we are making slight changes as we go along to try and improve things.
We all need to be really mindful of the issue that has faced Hillingdon Hospital since last Friday. Hillingdon has had a further outbreak of the COVID-19 and as a result over 70 staff members are having to self-isolate – and a number have tested positive. The hospital has had to close to emergencies and admissions
This is exactly why we are maintaining our emphasis on safe visiting, limiting the number of visitors to the site and minimising indoor interaction between different households or units.
If you book in for a visit:
Please respect the limitations on the number of individuals who can visit
Do not visit if you feel unwell, have a temperature, or any of the well-publicised symptoms of COVID-19
Do not visit if you have been identified as needing to isolate as part of the Track and Trace service
Wear PPE. We will provide this if you don’t have any
Wash your hands
Do not eat or drink during the visit; we are also not providing drinks
Keep socially distanced (We know this is difficult, but the Hillingdon outbreak is thought to be due to a lack of hand hygiene and a lack of social distancing)
Under no circumstances wander into or around the building. The only place you can enter is the designated visit area. Our café is closed to visitors
If anyone needs to use the toilet facilities they will need to leave the visiting area and go to either the reception area in Eventhall House or the main building. You will be able to use the visitors toilet which is located at the front entrance.
Many care homes are still not open to visitors, but we believe that with your support and cooperation our arrangements minimise the risks and keep everyone as safe as possible. If we have a further outbreak, we may have to close to visitors again.
By sticking to the guidelines we have in place, you are not only protecting your own loved one but everyone else’s too, as well as our amazing staff who continue to provide care and support in an uncertain world.
We will not be opening the main dining room to everyone just yet. We understand people want to see this return, but we are reluctant to do so until we have completed our antibody testing. So far we have tested over 100 members of staff.
Another exciting piece of news which we have confirmed in the last few days – our hairdressers is re-opening. As far as our residents and tenants are concerned, this is the best news for 122 days!
Ahead of this, we will be swab-testing the hairdressing staff. We will only be permitting the two resident hairdressers who work in the salon – there will be no mobile hairdressers on site yet. The hairdressers will open Tuesday to Friday, and it will work on appointment only, with only two people in the salon at any one time.
It will take a while to sort the backlog, but those of you lucky enough to still need the regular attention of a hairdresser will know how important an issue this in terms of how it makes you feel – but we all have to be patient.
We are now looking at undertaking regular testing for all residents and staff, potentially on a weekly basis. You will appreciate this means over 500 people, which represents a massive logistical exercise, but we have been at the forefront of the swabbing programme and aim to continue this.
We are open for admissions, subject to rigorous testing before people’s arrival and a period of quarantine. We are making everyone aware of the visiting restrictions before admission.
We have also just completed the work on Willow Tree House, our new dementia residential household. This was started last October and was intended to be finished by Pesach, but as we all know things didn’t quite go to plan.
Thank you for your continued support, kind words and patience.
1st July 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Our Day 114.
Heathlands Village remains free of the virus, which is the most important news.
We have been working extremely hard to reinforce policies and procedures to minimise the risk of any return of COVID-19. Our process of testing staff for antibodies is continuing and so far we have tested fifty staff members, with a further fifty to follow. This gives us enormous insight into how the virus affected our workforce.
As you might expect, the results of these antibody tests show that some staff who have never had symptoms at all had, at some point, contracted COVID-19. I imagine that as testing rolls out to more and more people in the community, this will prove to be the case for many others.
We are taking admissions in line with strict criteria around testing and infection control. Sadly, there are many people who – although they survived COVID-19 – are requiring care and support and now need residential or nursing care.
Earlier this week, we were thrilled to open up our dining room to Moorview House tenants. These tenants effectively form their own social bubble but, even so, we employed social distancing where appropriate.
We recognise that the weather has proved to be a challenge when it comes to visiting; not all of our gazebos survived the weekend wind and rain. We now feel that we have reached a stage where we can safely accommodate visiting inside the building subject to strict procedures. The issues currently affecting the City of Leicester are a stark reminder that this is not over, and we will continue to ask people to comply with the arrangements we put in place.
Therefore, from Monday 6th July we will be hosting visiting sessions inside. The locations for the visits will be as follows:
Activity Centre: two allocated spaces for use by Wolfson and Hamburger Units as before
Coffee Lounge: one allocated space for use of First Floor Residential. Beach House will also use this area if needed
Library: one allocated space for use by Moorview House and Beach House
Purple Room (Eventhall House): two allocated spaces for the use of Simon Jenkins Nursing Unit and D2A (Discharge to Assess)
Children’s Centre (Eventhall House): One space for use by Oakwood
Oakwood will also have a gazebo put up at the fire exit facing the assisted bathroom for visitors to sit under, with the fire exit open. This is for the benefit of residents who would prefer to remain on the Unit.
It will mean some rules need to be adhered to by our visitors:
- Do not visit if you are unwell or have been in contact with someone who is unwell
- Do not visit if you are subject to Track & Trace notification and isolation
- You will need to wear a mask or visor for the duration of your visit. We can issue visors to regular visitors which can be kept and cleaned and then reused by the same individual. These visors may help in communicating with some residents.
- You will be offered sanitiser for your hands before sitting down
- You will need to wait outside the room to be let in by the carer who has brought the resident/tenant to the meeting point
- Please avoid touching surfaces and always maintain social distancing
- Please do not bring anything to eat and drink
- If possible please do not use our toilet facilities. If you have travelled a long way or are in need of the facilities, don’t worry – we will direct you to the nearest ones available
We have had a change of shift when it comes to bookings. The system which will now be organised by Molly Cunningham and Charlotte Johnson, and we will let people know the new phone number soon.
The pattern of bookings will remain the same; the change of staff and arrangements may cause a few teething problems so please be patient with us.
We have decided against using the gardens for visits because of the unpredictability of the weather and the fact that our residents and tenants are increasingly making use of them.
Thank you for your understanding and support. We will get there eventually and hope that the physical distance between you and your loved one will diminish as we move forward.
The most important issue by far is when will our hairdressers re-open! We sincerely hope that this will be from Monday, 13th July. We are currently negotiating with the hairdressers regarding the arrangements, but are unable to facilitate visits from private hairdressers at the moment.
Please stay safe and well.
26th June 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
We’ve reached Day 109.
A warm few days have brought their own unique challenges when it comes to working in PPE, and our care teams have been working in extremely uncomfortable conditions.
I’d like to give a particular shout-out to our night staff, who – after a 12 hour shift – have had to try and sleep during the day, which is not easy when it is so warm.
We have no residents in isolation across the Village which is an extremely positive, emotional and joyous moment. It is one we are determined to maintain.
Thank you to everyone for your support and commitment to keeping the Village safe. Whilst we have had some residents and tenants who have seemed unwell, their tests have all been negative. We can sometimes forget that once upon a time people did feel unwell and it had nothing to do with a pandemic.
Our staff will continue to maintain the discipline that has helped us over the last few weeks. Regardless of what anyone says, our mantra is wash your hands, keep socially distanced, and use PPE.
Balcombe Hall, our main dining room, will open back up to Moorview House tenants from Monday starting with breakfast, which for some tenants will be their first meal outside of their flat for months. What will be a special moment for many, we are able to utilise the whole dining room in order to keep people safe and provide an opportunity to share a meal – albeit at a distance.
A number of my colleagues have taken part in the antibody testing trial on site, approximately 50 staff members in total. This requires an actual blood sample but will tell if you have antibodies in your system which would indicate whether you have had the virus. This will help us in managing and understanding our workforce challenges moving forward.
Thank you to everyone for your support of our visiting system. We know it isn’t perfect, and the weather has also been a challenge. It has prevented us from putting up the marquee but we have purchased a number of gazebos which we will be deploying over the next few days to keep both the sun and the rain at bay.
We received some guidance in the last few days which we are now reviewing that will support us to move forward. The current system will continue and we will review our plans next week.
Thank you for all your positive comments and thanks to staff, many of which we have incorporated into a video that we sent to our entire workforce today.
17th June 2020
Dear Friends & Relatives,
Well, we’ve made it to Day 100.
It is incredible that we have been fighting this virus for such a long time. We always said that this was a marathon not a sprint and it has certainly proved to be the case.
This particular race is far from over and we are continuing to enforce stringent measures to keep our employees, residents and tenants safe. All of our staff continue to wear PPE and we are distributing face coverings to all staff who need them for use on public transport.
The overwhelming feedback regarding visits has been positive; it has been an emotional time for all concerned, but we have been fine tuning the process thanks to your feedback.
We still await official Public Health England advice on visits but we remain comfortable and confident with the procedures we have in place. We had hoped to erect the marquee in the garden this week, which we intend to use going forward to facilitate visits. Unfortunately we had to delay this because of the thunderstorms. We lost our last marquee thanks to torrential rain so have had to take a pragmatic decision.
Until the process evolves, I would advise bringing a brolly on your visits; if you don’t have a brolly, you are living in the wrong town!
For now we are sticking with the system we have but we will let you know as soon as there are any changes.
I appreciate that there are many relatives who are themselves shielding and not able to visit yet, and we will continue to do our best to keep you in touch.
We are now permitting external health care professionals to visit in line with advice from Infection Control, as a number of our residents and tenants require reviews of specific health care issues. Such visits may be from district nurses, foot care practitioners, physiotherapists or the mental health team.
Each visit is considered on a case by case basis and reviewed by the Clinical Team or Registered Manager (Moorview) in terms of the risk versus the need for health care intervention. These visits are strictly controlled and subject to all PPE requirements. If you have any queries relating to this, please contact Sue Cleary or Karen Johnson.
In response to a number of enquiries, our onsite hairdresser will remain closed. The Shul will also remain closed for group services.
We have continued the process of swabbing and testing staff and residents and hope by Friday that all households will be clear. We are also planning to be part of an antibody testing trial for staff. This will provide huge insight into our workforce and who has or has not been affected by COVID-19. The insight gained will also help with the support of other care homes across Bury.
I have included a ‘Thank You video’ from Bury Council which has been sent out to care homes across the area, paying tribute to the role all care staff have played in the face of such extreme adversity. A lovely thing to share with our colleagues and the community.
Thank you for your continued patience and support,
Welcome to our Day 94.
Our focus over the last week has been on supporting those employees who are still off sick, coordinating the swabbing of our residents and colleagues, and arranging for you to visit safely.
We still have a number of staff who are officially shielding, although some are now returning to work following medical advice. The mammoth task of swabbing all our residents has been a challenge and has returned a few positive results despite the residents not showing any symptoms. The same thing has happened with some of our staff and a few people have had to self-isolate as a result.
Generally speaking the number of people affected is much lower than we expected and this is very positive. We hope to have all the test results back before the weekend. We may have to repeat some tests as we go along as the system is not without its logistical problems.
Our experience of finding people testing positive very much reflects what is happening in wider society. There will be people using shops, public transport, places of worship, and visiting family and friends who are COVID positive, infectious but have no symptoms.
Our advice therefore to staff is to continue to maintain their social distancing, wash their hands and wear PPE where appropriate. I would advocate this advice to you and your family, too!
We have officially welcomed many relatives back on site for the first time and facilitated a number of visits. We know the system isn’t perfect and it will get better but the main thing is keeping everyone safe. This is our number one priority.
I appreciate how emotional some of the reunions have been and I have spoken to some of our residents who were overjoyed, energised and simply thrilled to have met up with their loved ones. There have been virtual hugs all round!
I appreciate that some of you can’t visit yet because you yourselves are shielding or at high risk. We will continue to do our best to support you and your loved ones over the coming weeks.
Our aim is to review and refine our visiting arrangements on a regular basis to make them less and less restrictive, whilst maintaining people’s health and well-being. We are still faced with lots of competing demands and operational challenges, but we will get there. The feedback we have received so far has been very positive and encouraging.
I am including a picture of my hero of the week. Many of our staff have climbed the dizzy heights of success when it comes to going the extra mile, but John Curley – our Maintenance manager – is proof that some of our heroes have sunk to new depths! John popped up out of the drain outside Eventhall House as I came into work, proving that not all our challenges are COVID-19 related.
3rd June 2020
May we take this opportunity to thank you for your patience whilst we established a safe system for visiting your relatives. Our aim is to ensure that, during visits, we maintain the same safe environment that we have upheld for the last 3 months.
Part of this safety measure has resulted in COVID-19 testing being carried out for all residents and tenants over the last three days. To coincide with this, tests are currently in progress for all staff based onsite who have not (at any point) tested positive for COVID-19 previously. Results from this testing will help to determine if we have any current asymptomatic people onsite.
To date, the test results returned for residents and tenants have been negative. If, however, we receive two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases on a unit, visits for that particular unit would be suspended until the 14-day isolation period ends. Unfortunately, Wolfson residents cannot join the family visits until 11th June for this reason.
Bookings will be arranged on a first come, first served basis.
Designated meeting points have been marked out onsite. There are six for the main building and three for Eventhall House.Please arrive no sooner than 5 minutes before your meeting time to allow us to escort other visitors away from the areaA member of staff will meet you at the garden gate to guide you to the allocated meeting point.Routes to the designated areas are marked out.Please wear a mask if you have one for entering the main garden as you may be approached by residents.You will be asked to use hand gel provided.
No. of visitors per visit:
Maximum of 2 people per visit from the same household.
We cannot accept visitors from different households due to limited social isolation space.
PLEASE NOTE: If a resident or tenant becomes unwell and is therefore not able to meet, you will be contacted to rearrange your visit. If you are unable to visit for any reason, please inform the unit where your relative lives to cancel as soon as possible so that we may inform the resident/tenant that their visit has been cancelled.
To arrange a booking:
The booking service will be open from the 4th June 2020.
To make a booking, please ring the following numbers at the days/times stated:
Monday to Thursday
10am – 12 noon – 0161 772 4750
2pm – 4pm – 0161 772 4047
10am – 12 noon – 0161 772 4750
Bookings will be taken and allocated to allow each resident/tenant to receive at least one visit per week. Dependent on bookings taken, some residents/tenants may receive more than one visit if time-slots are available.
To simplify the booking system, we would ask you to arrange for only one member of your family to make contact with us to arrange bookings. Our aim is for all of our residents/tenants to receive at least one visit from their family where possible.
The success of this booking system is dependent on us all working together, as we have over the last few months. We appreciate the support we have received from you, and we ask you to please bear with us as we roll out this booking system. We are sure if we work together, we can make this a great success.
Stay safe and well. We hope to see you soon.
Thank you again for your patience and support.
28th May 2020
Really, there should be some kind of fanfare for reaching Day 80.
Thank you to everyone for your emails. I haven’t yet been able to respond to all of them or all of your messages individually but I will try. My spell of absence meant my inbox had well over 1000 emails that needed reading. Top tip: I always try to prioritise reading emails that have the word chocolate in the subject heading.
Today is an extra update that focuses on our visiting plans.
We had developed plans that would have seen us start allowing visiting next week, but we have learnt today that Bury NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have agreed to swab test all of our residents and bring a team of clinicians on-site to do this.
This is an extremely positive development and will give us great insight into the health status of all residents in Heathlands Village.
The swabbing will start on Monday 1st and will continue until possibly Thursday.
We are so pleased and relieved to finally get this arrangement in place. Karen Johnson, our Director of Clinical Services, has worked tirelessly in advocating and lobbying for this essential support. Well done Karen!
This means we cannot start our visiting regime until after the Bury Infection Control team have left the site. This essential screening is a priority that we cannot ignore.
As yet, we don’t have a clear indication of when the results will come back. Our experience at the moment is varied, with the quickest being less than 24 hours – but on average results are received around 48 hours later.
We will send everyone an email on Tuesday 2nd June with details of how to arrange a visit. We will then be in a position for people to contact us from Wednesday onward to arrange visits for the following week, beginning on Monday 8th June. I appreciate this is further away than we thought, but the delay is for a very good reason.
We will send details on what we will be asking you to do, where to go, who can visit etc.
Please discuss with the Team Leader or Manager on your loved one’s household about the pros and cons of restricted visiting. I know this is an incredibly tough call and so I can only advise that you have the conversation and decide what works for your relative.
We will be keeping an eye on the advice given by the Government via Public Health England and Bury Local Authority, as this may result in some arrangements changing. We are also trying to understand the impact of Track and Trace on our workforce and staffing, as the potential impact is not clear.
Thank you again for your patience and support.
27th May 2020
Welcome to our Day 79 update.
We have again enjoyed a stable and manageable week.
With nearly 400 staff members, Bank Holidays always create additional operational demands but this one passed with minimal problems.
We still have a significant number of staff who are shielded or furloughed for a variety of reasons, and on top of this we have approximately 20 staff currently off sick – but this is the lowest level since we went into lockdown.
At the start of the day, I was able to say the site was COVID-19 free. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and we have one resident who is being isolated. We are also seeing sporadic members of staff test positive and having to isolate.
This is our biggest challenge: how do we keep the Village site COVID-19 free? As lockdown relaxes, the concern is that whilst our staff have remained extremely disciplined about infection control and social distancing, the people around them and the communities in which they live may not be so guarded.
This is the most likely route of infection back into Heathlands Village. We remain worried about the impact of a second and third spike, and are reluctant to let our guard down in any way.
We began our own lockdown process on 10th March, as opposed to 23rd March when the Government announced the first nationwide lockdown plans, and as we come to celebrate Shavuos on Friday, we will have maintained our regime for 81 days.
As I write this, I can hear some of our residents outside in the garden singing ‘Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag,’ and the Morecambe and Wise classic ‘Bring Me Sunshine.’
A daily lesson in finding the silver lining, and resilience in the face of adversity.
We are extremely disappointed that the promised swabs have not yet been provided, as this makes planning and managing our workforce very difficult. We have also not yet received the specific advice we requested from Public Health England or Infection Control, but we are fighting to get this.
The reality of what is said in press meetings, and the actual experience on the ground, is very different.
The team has been working on the arrangements for safe visiting. We hope to start next week and we will send out a further email regarding the booking process and how we will manage this.
We know it has been a long time and how difficult a situation this is, but we are moving forward. Please do not bombard the units or households for information as they will be unable to help; we will share the information as soon as we can. Again I appreciate your continued patience and understanding.
With warmest regards,
20th May 2020
Our Day 72 update.
I would like to start this briefing by making a request!
We have been aware for some time that a number of relatives have forwarded this briefing to the local press. I would like to ask that you treat this information as personal to you, your family and your relative. We very much see friends and relatives as being part of the Fed family, and it feels disrespectful to share information with the wider public when it is so personal.
We are frequently contacted by the press and out of respect for those families who have lost loved ones, and families who live far away or are worried, we endeavour to be sensitive and provide information that reflects the challenges that we have faced – without compromising privacy and dignity.
We have turned down a request to share our updates directly, and I would ask that people respect this.
The last week at Heathlands Village has been settled. We have no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 or people who are symptomatic.
The number of staff who are off self-isolating or sick has also dropped below 30 for the first time since early April, and we no longer have any staff in hospital.
We have sufficient PPE and resources in place to manage the site and deliver care effectively. We are still not going to open up the main dining room, and will continue to manage and keep individual households or units separate.
The most common question we have received over the last week has been “When can I visit my relative?”; it is one we have wrestled with significantly.
We know it has been a long time for everyone concerned. Indeed many of our own staff are in a similar situation, and are unable to visit their own parents or loved ones in other care homes – so we understand the pain, anxiety and sadness.
We have taken extensive advice from Bury Infection Control Service on the matter, but I hope that by sharing the following it will give you an idea of the complexities involved in minimising the risks, as well as how we can aim to move forward.
What has to be said is that the COVID-19 challenge is not over – far from it.
All care homes are faced with unique challenges in terms of their design, layout, staffing resources, PPE and the impact of COVID-19.
We cannot focus on what happens elsewhere. We have to focus on our own situation and manage it appropriately.
The decisions that we make are informed by Public Health England and Bury Infection Control, together with the knowledge of our own resources and capabilities, and the people we care for.
Here are our thoughts:
We want to facilitate visits as soon as we can, but everyone must acknowledge that in doing so, there are inherent risks that can only be minimised. The obvious risk is to your relative – but there is also a risk to our staff, as well as to you, the visitor.
We cannot yet facilitate visits whereby people enter the building or individual households, but the advice from Bury provides us with certain other options.
Who could visit?
· Immediate family, and no more than two visitors – as long as they live together.
· Only visitors who are symptom free and have not knowingly been in contact with anyone who has had COVID-19 symptoms
Should I visit?
· This is a real dilemma. A lot of our residents have adjusted to what is a new normality, but we recognise that their quality of life is enhanced by your visits, love and conversations. There is a balance to be struck and everyone’s situation and understanding is different.
· We would advocate that you discuss visiting with the Team Leader or Manager of the household where your loved one lives. We have to acknowledge that restricted visits – i.e. visits through windows which do not allow for physical contact – may cause more distress than they are designed to alleviate. Not being able to give or receive a hug is the saddest part of this virus.
I undoubtedly contracted COVID-19 from a spontaneous hug from a resident, and I was wearing PPE at the time.
Where would the visit take place?
· Our initial visit arrangements would mean that relatives or visitors remain outside of the building. We would bring residents to a number of designated areas where they can chat through the windows. We would utilise a different ground floor area for each household as some of our care provision is located on upper floors.
· We recognise that some of our residents are not able to get out of bed and this represents an additional challenge which we haven’t yet resolved.
How would the visits be arranged?
· We will provide a booking system and a dedicated member of staff to coordinate the arrangements. We cannot facilitate a lot of visits at the same time.
· Visitors will have a time slot, and these will avoid medication rounds and meal times as this is when our staffing resources are most stretched.
· As previously highlighted, visitors must be symptom-free.
· All visitors will be required to wear PPE which we will provide – although if you have your own that would be a great help.
What could cause a visit to be cancelled?
· We recognise that this would be extremely upsetting for all concerned, but if either yourself or your relative was unwell on the day proposed, we would discuss cancelling the visit.
· If we have an outbreak of COVID-19 in a given household, we would not facilitate visits.
· If we have people tested and the results are positive, this may impact on these plans. I will explain more on this below.
When will this start?
· We would aim to start as soon as possible – but this is dependent upon advice from Bury Infection Control.
How often will I be able to visit?
· We will try to ensure that everyone who wants to visit gets the opportunity, and be fair and equitable to all involved. We would ask families to consider and prioritise who would visit. If every grandchild wants to visit, we will struggle!
We are waiting for further clarification from Infection Control and Public Health on a number of questions:
· If a resident has been confirmed as having had COVID-19 and is no longer infectious can we offer a more relaxed visiting?
· What will be the impact of being tested? We are starting to swab and test those staff and people who have not been symptomatic.
How can you help and support us?
· You have been incredibly supportive, patient and understanding throughout this period – and we ask you to please continue this as we enter a new phase of the virus.
· Our staff remain under intense emotional and physical pressure. They appreciate your kind words and will continue to do their best.
· Please do not visit and seek to access the Village without discussing with us first. Some unannounced visits have caused upset.
· If you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of your relative, please talk to us about your worries. Please don’t make arrangements directly with the NHS, private consultants or GPs, or seek hospital admission without discussing it with us. If someone goes into hospital for any prolonged period we would be unable to admit them back into Heathlands Village without a negative test.
I appreciate that there is a lot in this email to take in and you will have a lot of questions.
Our ultimate aim is to reunite you with your loved one as soon as possible with minimal risk to all concerned.
Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement.
You may notice on our Facebook page or on the fundraising page on our website that our unofficial pet therapy dog is raising money towards parties for our residents.
14th May 2020
Day 66 of our journey.
I am so happy to be back, and want to thank you again for your kind words of support. Coming back into work Monday was a very emotional moment, especially when one of our residents said “Nice to see you but where’s your dog Monty? Is he ok?”
It’s always good to know your place!
Due to popular demand, the Shihtzu will be making a guest appearance at some point. For those not familiar with Monty, he was our unofficial therapy dog early on in April.
I am aware that a number of my colleagues are still battling the virus. It is horrible and I genuinely have great empathy for what they are going through. I am sure you will join me in wishing them a speedy recovery.
Coming back to work when you have been off is always an anxious moment, regardless of whether you have been ill, working from home or furloughed. I can only say that you don’t always realise what a great team of people you work with and how much you miss them.
So what does the change in COVID-19 guidance mean for us?
Whilst most of the working world has been at home, the vast majority of our staff have been coming into work or working extremely hard from their own home. For many people, the idea of going back to work will be a novelty, but they will let their guard down and assume everything is back to normal.
We know that it isn’t. Our residents, and the people we care for in the community, are still vulnerable and our workforce needs to be protected.
We have seen approximately 30 positive tests from 70 members staff who have been tested. We still have approximately 30 members of staff off sick.
The Village is fairly stable at the moment with the vast majority of areas being COVID free. We are caring for 28 residents and tenants who have tested positive but are now no longer infectious, something to be very thankful for.
We still greatly mourn the loss of the many friends no longer with us.
Essentially, we will not be changing anything over the next two weeks. There is a belief that this week’s relaxation will cause an increase in diagnosed cases, and we are asking all of our staff to continue to embrace all the guidance and use the PPE we have purchased when required. The most important thing remains social distancing and regular hand washing.
Now is not the time for us to take our eye off the ball. We have come a long way and it has been arduous and emotionally very upsetting, but we need to stick with our plans for now.
Some of our staff will be returning from home-working due to the difficulties in maintaining their work activities at home. They will be working no more than two to an office and we have put other measures in place.
From hereon in we will be sending out a weekly briefing, and we will try to confirm the day soon.
Thank you again to everyone for your support, patience, encouragement and kind words – and the chocolate has definitely helped.
7th May 2020
Welcome to your Day 59 update!
Firstly, I would like to thank everyone for the messages of goodwill I received. I really appreciated your thoughts and kind words.
It all started when I came down with a temperature, and was swabbed in a lovely car park in Bury. Up until that point, I felt OK!
Unfortunately after that, the virus decided it had had enough of messing about with me and properly took hold from there on in.
Having COVID-19 gives you great insight into the impact the virus has on vulnerable people. It is a very unpleasant experience and one that I am grateful to have come through. I know that sadly not everyone has been so lucky.
I have not been alone in contracting the virus, and this week we passed the milestone of our 100th member of staff returning to work after being in isolation or off sick.
I am currently working from home but hope to be back at the Village later this week, although most probably on Monday.
I want to pay tribute to the management team and all of our fantastic staff who have continued to ensure that our day to day work and the care that we provide has continued under the most difficult of circumstances. They have been heroic.
We have lost a lot of residents who were very much our friends and characters who made the Village such a special place to live and work. We have also lost some much-loved service users in the community.
For some of our staff who have been off sick or in isolation, coming back into work has been heartbreaking when they have discovered that people they cared deeply for and about have passed away. We recognise what a loss these people are to the many families we support, but also the impact these losses have on those care staff who have formed bonds and friendships over the years.
The Fed is very much built around people who are amazing characters – dedicated, hardworking, fun and committed. No one exemplified this more than Diane Taylor.
Diane was our Clinical Nurse Manager on nights. She had been off work poorly since December 2019, and so it comes with extreme sadness to inform you that Diane passed away on Sunday 3rd May.
Diane had worked at Heathlands Village since November 2008. Working nights meant that she was not a familiar face to everyone but she was a vital part of our nursing team. Diane received the Dr Simon Jenkins Award for Excellence in Care a few years ago, an accolade which was richly deserved. Karen Johnson, our Clinical Director, offers a fitting tribute:
“Although only small in stature, Diane had a huge presence when she was in work and was an excellent clinician. We always knew that when Diane was in, we could rest easy as she would ‘have’ the site and we needn’t worry.
We will really miss her. Not only was she a great colleague, she was a friend as well.
Our thoughts and love go out to her husband Martin, daughter Sarah, granddaughter Felicity and son Graham.
Rest in peace Diane x”
The management of COVID-19 across site has been extremely proactive, and we are now seeing areas of the Village which are symptom free. We will continue to manage this over the coming weeks and months. Even if the Government begins to ease the lockdown policy, we will have to continue to be vigilant and disciplined when it comes to hygiene and infection control.
Until we receive further guidance, we will not be relaxing our rules on visitors. I appreciate that in one of my more optimistic updates I did suggest that we could consider ways to facilitate visits but until we have clear guidance on how to do this safely from Bury Infection Control, we will have to continue with our current protocols.
I understand how upsetting this is, but I think that whatever changes the Government decides to implement after the weekend, it may be a while before these can be applied to care homes.
From Monday 11th May, we will begin taking new admissions. There will be strict guidelines in place for this and every admission will be screened and swabbed to ensure they are not infectious. We are very aware of people in the community who are frail and in need of care and we will do our best to provide help and support to these individuals, some of whom have waited many weeks in isolation for help.
As we look forward to the weekend, Friday marks the anniversary of VE Day, the end of the Second World War in Europe.
It is ironic that we have been fighting our own battle to preserve the lives of those who fought and lived through the war.
It is a great reminder of the privilege of caring for some of our community’s most vulnerable people, a reminder of who they are and what they have been through, and the sacrifices they made on our behalf. It is a day worthy of celebration.
Thank you for your ongoing support, encouragement and patience.
30th April 2020
Day 52 in the Village.
First of all, we begin by apologising for the reduced number of updates over the last few days.
As you may be aware, our Chief Executive, Mark Cunningham, has been off work with COVID-19. Whilst he has been unwell for over a week, we are pleased to say that today he is feeling a little better and we hope to see him back in work in the near future.
Please rest assured that in Mark’s absence we as the Senior Management Team are ensuring the smooth running of The Fed and Heathlands Village.
Many of our relatives, staff, residents and tenants have enquired about Mark, and we have told him how much he is missed and to take time to get back to full strength. All of us from our Fed Family wish him a speedy recovery and we are sure you will join us in sending him our very best wishes.
It appears as though we are coming out of the other side of the primary COVID-19 battle for our residents. We are now seeing less symptomatic residents on a daily basis and those residents who had tested positive previously are hopefully on the road to recovery.
We do still have some of our Fed family in hospital, and we wish them all a full and speedy recovery, when we will be overjoyed to welcome them back home.
Sadly though, we have experienced devastating loss over the last few weeks. Tragically, nine of our residents who were symptomatic of COVID-19 have passed away, together with nine residents who were tested and confirmed positive. We have also lost six residents who passed away, but we are confident that they did not have the virus.
It has been a period of great loss for our Fed community and our most sincere and warmest thoughts go to those of you who have lost your loved ones. Each of those numbers represents someone you loved – and who was deeply loved by our staff – and we wish you all a long life.
Our staff have also been affected and so far we have had 21 members of staff test positive for COVID-19. Many of them are currently in the recovery phase, whilst we are relieved and happy that some are already back in work. At various points we have also had up to 60 staff members off sick or in self-isolation.
We now have more swabs available and can test any resident who becomes symptomatic. We also have a very good current supply of PPE, and staff are now using PPE with everyone, treating all residents as though they were symptomatic to ensure maximum safety inside Heathlands Village.
Your constant messages of support and encouragement have been more of a blessing than you can ever know. Our staff are all doing an incredible job and we are so proud of them all.
The cards, letters and emails are all shared with the appropriate teams and give them huge strength to carry on their crucial work.
Lucian O’Neil, our Moorview House manager, particularly wants to thank families for their amazing messages of support during the last few difficult weeks.
Whilst there have been far too many messages to list them all here, there are two in particular we wanted to print. We feel they highlight the feelings that we ourselves have towards our staff, and show the level of care and strength that they have had since this crisis began:
“We are absolutely in awe. Thank you for being our frontline warriors.”
“You are being thought of, and our eternal thanks for all you do – the team are truly heroic.”
We take this moment to end our update to you with a message from one of our Honorary Patrons, Lady Beryl Steinberg.
“In my privileged position as Honorary Patron of The Fed, I watch and feel full of humility at the work of all the staff in these very unusual and difficult times. I wish to thank you most sincerely for your dedication, care, love and hard work taken whilst looking after the Heathlands family.
It is so lovely to see some residents outside doing exercises in the beautiful sunshine we have been having and to have seen them enjoying the recent singing by Benji Salomon and the band for Yom Ha’atzmaut. I know how much the families appreciate this care whilst they are unable to visit.
A big thanks as well to the wider community for their great support at this time.
‘Thank you’. These are two small words, but behind them, a mountain of appreciation to all who care for the residents of Heathlands Village.
Let us pray it will not be too long before we can resume “normal service”
Let us hope we are through the worst now, and looking toward a brighter future.
Thank you as ever for your ongoing support and faith.
Our warmest wishes,
Karen Johnson – Director of Clinical Services
Sheila Heywood-Holt – Director of Operations
Bernie Garner – Director of Community Services
Raphi Bloom – Director of Fundraising and Marketing
Dominic Irving – Director of Finance
24th April 2020
Day 46 in the Village!
Apologies for the reduced number of updates over the last few days.
Unfortunately I started to feel unwell at work on Tuesday and after a quick check from one of our highly skilled nurses, it was established I had a high temperature and was sent home.
We had quite a number of staff affected this week which has been a challenge, but the vast majority of us have now been for a swab.
I was sent to the car park of the old job centre in Bury – not quite the environment you expect for being swabbed, but the nursing staff doing the testing were lovely and said I had been very brave!
It’s ironic really that most of our staff who live in Bury have been sent to Manchester Airport for swab tests, while I live about two miles from the airport and was sent to Bury.
Like everyone else, I will find out the results in 24-48 hours.
Although I haven’t been in work, I have been able to be part of the daily management zoom meetings and was able to watch the clapping last night on CCTV as everyone left work. It was a moment to be proud of, as people received their applause and in turn stayed to applaud their colleagues and friends. Lovely to see and well deserved by everyone.
We have sadly lost some more of our wonderful residents in recent days. Our thoughts are with their families, but also with the staff who have provided such dedicated care and who also feel the loss of such lovely people whom they have inevitably become very close to.
We are continuing to recruit new staff and have been holding small induction sessions over the last week. This is helping us to ensure that we can continue to deliver the care and support that our residents and tenants need.
We are not yet taking new admissions other than those people who are already our residents but have been in hospital and now need to come back to us. People returning to us will no longer be infectious.
I hope to be able to provide a more detailed update next week. We want to start formulating plans around how we could facilitate family visits safely as we know how important this is for everyone.
In the meantime we will continue to do our utmost to keep the people you love and care about safe and well. Below are a couple of photos from the last few days, showing the fun and innovative ways our staff are keeping people active, happy and reassured.
Thank you for your ongoing support, encouragement and understanding.
12th April 2020
Our Day 33 will be coming to a close as you receive this update.
We have taken the decision to lock down further, and have closed Balcombe Hall – our main dining room. This effectively means we are now caring for people on the Unit in which they live.
This represents a number of challenges for us as we have had to change the way that teams work to provide meals and support. We believe this is the next step in terms of what we can do to protect people’s health and keep them safe.
We haven’t done this sooner because it is a model of care that is so difficult to maintain for any prolonged period.
For those residents that have dementia, who are confused, or who have learning disabilities, this is a decision that is incredibly hard to understand. We know people find comfort in routine and in their friendships across the Village, and to that end we are doing our best to explain why we have put these changes in place, and give some space and feeling of normality where we can.
We will update families where there is a change in someone’s health and will do our best to continue keeping you informed.
We do have enough PPE (masks, gowns, gloves etc) but are using it at a rate of knots. Thank you to all those people who have donated PPE, helped us source it or donated money to help pay for it; we have probably used more PPE in the last 4 weeks than we would normally use in a year.
I repeat what I said in an earlier email: if you have any contacts or are able to help, please let us know.
Our staffing levels have been under strain but we have been able to get staff tested at Manchester Airport and some are now returning, having been confirmed it is safe for them to do so.
Thank you for your kind messages of support. So many of our staff have cancelled rest days or the time they had planned with their own family and courageously and selflessly come into work.
I am very proud of the kindness, compassion and understanding that our “Village People” (as we call them!) have all shown in the most difficult of circumstances. Not all heroes wear capes – ours wear masks.
Again I can only thank you for your patience, understanding and support. I do not underestimate how hard this is for you too.
Look after yourselves and keep well.
7th April 2020
As day 29 draws to a close, we have change the title of our update from COVID-19 to Heathlands Village Update. A small change, but an important one – we are trying not to be dominated by this virus or be defined by it.
The last few days have been extremely challenging, and it has been an emotional time for us all.
Sadly, we have seen a number of people reach the end of their life’s journey and that brings a great deal of sadness for their families of course, but also the staff who have cared for them – in some cases care which has been provided for many years.
Our thoughts and love go out to these families, and we wish them all a long life .
The majority of people who have passed away were not affected by COVID-19.
However, it is increasingly difficult to say that there is no one in the Village who is COVID-19 positive.
We have a number of residents who have had the virus and are no longer infectious. We monitor people’s temperature on a regular basis but it is apparent that a temperature is often related to an underlying health condition or infection. Our policy is to monitor and isolate people where we can, and where we are concerned, we seek immediate medical advice.
We have been keeping one step ahead of the guidance when it comes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It seems strange that after a year dominated by PPI, we are now completely focused on PPE.
Our care workers and other key staff are now wearing face masks when in close personal contact with our residents and tenants, and this makes a challenging job even harder.
We also don’t want to cause unnecessary distress to our residents who live with dementia and have no concept of what is happening in the world around them, and so we are trying to protect and care for people the best way we can.
If you speak to your relative, please help to reassure them.
What this new directive means for us is that our stocks of PPE will be under great pressure. We will need to find more masks and more disposable gowns, and small personal bottles of hand gel are also very helpful.
If you have a business or contacts who could help us secure more stocks of masks, gowns and hand gel then please let us know. We have had some lovely donations but will need much more. We estimate we may use more than 150 masks every day, so if you think you can help us, please do.
We have tried very hard to maintain Skype and phone contact between our residents and their loved ones, but more than half of the team we dedicated to this task are now or have been self-isolating. We know how much this contact means to you and we will do whatever can, but it will be increasingly difficult over Pesach for us to re-task staff.
We have also re-deployed quite a number of staff into different roles to support teams under pressure across site.
We are now beginning to be offered swab tests. These test opportunities are like gold dust but we are getting more than our fair share, and this is helping us bring colleagues back into work.
We are still trying to put as much daily content as we can on social media, showing and celebrating what we do best – helping people live life to the full, feeling safe, valued and cared for.
Our staff are heroic – we know that you know that. Thank you for all your words of encouragement and good wishes.
Our communication will be sporadic over yom tov, but may I wish you again a healthy and Kosher Pesach.
3rd April 2020
I would like to inform you of an unprecedented Emergency Appeal to the UK Jewish community that has been launched this week by The Fed, Jewish Care and Nightingale Hammerson – along with the National Association of Jewish Care Homes.
Due to the gravity of the situation, all three charities are engaging with their donors to ask them to please support this extraordinary campaign.
As the UK’s three largest Jewish residential care home charities, they have come together in a historic landmark moment to help the most vulnerable older members of the Jewish community through the COVID-19 crisis by launching this joint emergency appeal.
As the Coronavirus crisis bites harder, The Fed, Jewish Care and Nightingale Hammerson are asking the community to be there for those who need them most in their greatest hour of need.
Together with the National Association of Jewish Homes, the campaign aims to raise seven million pounds in order to support their vital services during this national emergency.
The Fed, Jewish Care and Nightingale Hammerson provide care homes for more members of the Jewish community across the United Kingdom than anyone else. Between them, they are currently caring for over a thousand older Jewish people day and night, many of whom have underlying health issues which makes them very vulnerable to COVID-19.
In addition, they care for many thousands who are most vulnerable and in need in the wider Jewish community.
In Greater Manchester, London and the South-East, the three charities have already made significant changes to the way they work. The three care home providers have already invested heavily in personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep residents and staff safe, but know that much more will soon be needed. They have also provided new technology to make sure that care home residents can make video calls to their loved now that visits are suspended.
Office staff have been redeployed to front-line caring roles, where they can make a huge difference and alleviate some of the pressures on other care staff. Additional sick pay costs and agency costs to replace ill staff have also substantially added to expenditures.
Furthermore, as more and more older people from the community are discharged from hospital to free up NHS beds and cannot be looked after in their own homes, the three organisations must be there for them too, and care for them in their care homes as well.
So far, under these most challenging of circumstances, all three charities are managing to cope with the increased need.
However, they all know that the situation is escalating further and more money is needed to continue to meet their vulnerable client group’s needs.
Vital funds raised from the Jewish Homes Emergency Appeal campaign will be split between the three care home providers, with 10% being donated to smaller care homes across the community that are part of the National Association of Jewish Homes (NAJH).
As Hillel the Elder said – “if not now, when”.
I am also attaching below a video of what was an extremely touching moment that occurred yesterday at Heathlands Village. Ralph Marcus, one of our Moorview House tenants, recently asked me how residents could show their appreciation and thanks to our wonderful staff.
The answer – as is often the case – was a simple but genuine moment of thanks. As we all #clappedforcarers last night, our residents did the same for our exceptional teams.
My best wishes to you as always,
1st April 2020
Day 23 coincided with April Fools Day, but as we are all being kind to each other no one has been caught out!
I am not sure that we have quiet days at the moment, but it has felt quite peaceful and relaxed today.
One of our residents living on our Oakwood Unit who went into hospital at the beginning of the week has now tested positive. There have been no further people showing symptoms, so our hope is that the prompt action of the staff and our rigorous infection control measures are helping.
Sadly, one of our residents living on the first floor passed away today. This was not COVID-19 related.
We wouldn’t normally mention such an event, but we don’t want people to make assumptions or worry too much. Our thoughts are very much with the family concerned because a bereavement is difficult under normal circumstances, and things, as we all know, are even more difficult at present.
We are working with guidance from the Beis Din to ensure the Village will be kosher for Pesach. We are faced with some challenges – especially in Eventhall House – however, we will do our best to implement appropriate arrangements.
We have spoken to many of our residents and tenants regarding arrangements for Pesach, and as always they have given us great advice based on their knowledge and a pragmatic view of the world that only comes with age and experience. Based on the average age of our residents and tenants, this accumulative knowledge equates to about 16,000 years of life experience and so we would be foolish not to listen.
The consensus has been that people do not want a formal Seder.
Meal times will be the same and table arrangements will be similar to normal. Our catering staff will still make this a special evening and we will provide a Seder plate to all those who would like one.
Our supplies and staff teams are under pressure, but are holding up under the challenge.
Thank you again for your patience, support and kind words.
30th March 2020
Today is officially Day 21 for the staff and residents of Heathlands Village.
That said, we actually began to implement changes to our cleaning regime and policies in early February. This was never going to be a sprint!
We have had some additional admissions to hospital from Oakwood and continue to care for a number of people who have shown some of the symptoms.
We are extremely excited to be welcoming back home today a lady who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now well enough to return. I am delighted to say that she is no longer infectious.
It shows we can beat this virus and that the professionalism and dedication of our care staff does make a difference. We are so grateful and thankful – and if honest, completely overjoyed.
We are not managing anyone with clear symptoms anywhere elsewhere in the village
We are approaching the point where we will need to ask for help with getting essential staff into work, as the bus routes are soon going to be revised – and in some cases suspended altogether.
We are looking at the protocols for this, and once we have clarified who needs help and where from we will send information out and invite people to volunteer.
Today I reminded our incredible staff how wonderful they are. Day after day, despite the challenges, they keep turning up for work and doing their job with diligence and great care.
Aside from them all being heroes, I have another idea why they are just so good!
“I know things have been tough but you have been doing a great job and your resilience has been amazing.
I am convinced this is because we are all Mancunians at heart. It doesn’t matter where you were born, once you work and live in Manchester you get to be part of the team and as my favourite poet, Tony Walsh, says:
And there’s hard times again in these streets of our city
But we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity
Because this a place where we stand strong together
With a smile on our face, Mancunians Forever.
Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes
Because this is the place that’s a part of our bones
‘Cos Greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact
That this is the place.
We should give something back
Always remember. Never forget. Forever Manchester.“
Thank you for your support, patience and understanding.
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,
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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.
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.
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.
Chief Executive Officer
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 email@example.com