There are further cases of Coronavirus, or COVID 19, being confirmed throughout the Country. Although at the time of writing there are only 2 confirmed cases in Somerset, and no cases to date in Bath.
Way Ahead Care is receiving constant updates, every day, providing us with information and guidance as to how best manage the situation.
At this point we have been advised by Public Health England that there is no need to do anything differently in providing services. We are still in a containment phase and everyone is focused on preventing the spread of the virus and limiting its ability to gain a foothold.
We have been instructing staff to be attentive in using PPE and washing their hands more often to protect both clients and themselves. The advice we have been given is that face masks are only recommend to be worn by infected individuals, so until we hear different we will not be issuing face masks to staff.
However we advise that clients and their families make plans in the event that we are unable to attend your visits.
It is no secret that staffing resources within social care are at full capacity every day. The effect of a widespread Pandemic is likely to have serious repercussions. Our ability to provide continued services, if staff are required to stay at home to prevent further spread, will present a significant challenge. There is not the sufficient staffing capacity to backfill the predicted levels of absence a wide spread infection might produce. Not only this, the external measures that might be taken as part of a national initiative; the closure of schools for example, will also affect our staffing capacity as staff will be unable to work due to the lack of childcare.
In the event that we start to lose staff to the virus, self-isolation, or other related challenges Way Ahead Care will have to enter into what is called ‘Contingency’.
Each of our clients has been ‘assessed’ between 1 and 5 based on the level of need, vulnerability, mobility, health requirements and access to additional support available to them. Once in ‘Contingency’ clients assessed at 1 and 2 get priority and then 3’s, 4’s and 5’s, capacity allowing. Measures might include the reducing the number of visits in the day or combining visits to allow us to make best use of the staffing capacity available to us.
Depending on the extent and duration of the ‘Contingency’ period will depend on the level of services we will be able to continue with. Rest assured we will do the best we can with what we have available.
This is the same procedure we use in the event of bad weather, however these events historically only last a number of days. The challenges of providing a service during a pandemic, such as Coronavirus, is likely to last significantly longer.
Where possible we urge clients to make preparations for alternative arrangements in the event that we will be unable to fulfill our normal care visits. Of course we hope this won’t be necessary but feel it is important to be aware of a very real possibility.
Further information on how the Country is dealing with the Coronavirus is being published each day and we will of course the website updated with any changes that might affect how we continue to provide services.