We wanted to issue an update about our response to Covid-19 and the changes we have made to our services to protect the people we support, our staff and any visitors to our services and head office.

The safety and wellbeing of staff and the people we support are our top priorities, and we are continuing to follow government guidelines in order to maintain and deliver our services. We have developed a series of risk assessments for all areas of the organisation, and for our staff, to ensure people’s safety. As the advice is regularly changing, we will continue to update our plans and assessments to protect everyone.

As all of our services are unique and face different challenges it would be impractical to upload all of these risk assessments to the website, therefore we have summarised the main points below.

Introduction of bubble working: In order to lessen the risk of transmission of the virus we have introduced the concept of bubble working across all locations, including in our services with people we support and within head office. We have split locations and staff teams to ensure that they are not accessing multiple areas and coming into contact with a lot of people.

Hygiene: In all our services we have increased our cleaning regimes to ensure that surfaces which are regularly touched are cleaned multiple times throughout the day.

Residential and supported living services are following specific advice around cleaning regimes, which were developed by the government to ensure cleanliness in such settings.

We have placed multiple hand sanitising stations in all areas at prominent positions to ensure people can clean their hands regularly, and to act as a prompt for people we support, staff and visitors to use them.

Additional signage has been installed to ensure staff, visitors and people we support are reminded of the importance of good hygiene.

PPE: Staff working with people we support are wearing face masks at all times, as per government guidance for care homes. Full training for staff in the wearing of PPE has been undertaken in these areas. Face coverings must be worn in areas where there are people we support.

PPE is available for other staff and visitors should they wish to wear this in other areas.

Visiting restrictions: Visiting our services is strictly appointment only and visitors must ensure that they are symptom free. Signage will be on prominent display in all areas to remind people of this.

Services in which there are people we support will only accept external visitors with a risk assessment in place.

Other areas, such as head office, will ensure that visitors are kept to a minimum and their attention will be drawn to the area’s specific rules.

Supporting Test and Trace: Visitors to services are asked for their details and this information will be kept for at least 21 days to support track and trace and to comply with GDPR.

Protecting the people we support: In order to protect the people we support, we have completed individual risk assessments around a person’s physical vulnerabilities, along with their ability to understand and comprehend social-distancing measures.

Fluid resistant face coverings are to be worn by all staff supporting individuals and by visitors in areas that are accessed by people we support.

We have reviewed each individual’s timetable to ensure that they are able to socially distance as much as possible, allowing this to be eased in line with government guidance and advice.

Protecting our staff: All staff are required to undertake a risk screen to identify if they are at high risk should they catch the virus. If they are found to be at high risk, then they will have an additional risk assessment in place.

We will ensure that our staff work in consistent teams wherever possible. We have provided personal protective equipment and screens in public-facing areas and where social distancing is not possible.

Floor stickers help to indicate social distancing in areas that staff and visitors access. Maximum capacity numbers have been placed in meeting rooms throughout head office.

Testing: Staff and people who live within residential services are being tested regularly for coronavirus, as per the government guidance. As good practice, we are sending other front-line staff (CVS and Supported Living) for regular testing at local testing centres.

Other staff and people we support are able to access tests should they become symptomatic and staff have been provided with details around this.