Safeguarding has taken on a new added meaning:
I have just finished watching a funeral via a link on YouTube of a 93 old lady (Maggie B) who was a service user on end of life care at my care home, in Bromley.
When you think of Covid-19, safeguarding has taken on a new added meaning. We are safeguarding the people we care for from inside and outside to save lives.
Telling families to stay away, PPE, constant infection control updates, now weekly testing and constant video calling. All these safety measures present challenges (there is nothing 'normal' about the new normal). With running a care home, we had to revaluate the whole policy and new way of thinking about safeguarding. Documenting and keeping up with all the Public Health England guidance was tough and time consuming.
In the business, we use a care software, Carevision, which we developed. This icon-based system helps staff with any direct updates and government guidance directly to our policy. This has safeguarded our staff and the people we care for. It also has a family app enabling the sharing of videos and pictures by families on Carevision keeping people in touch throughout this period.
Implementing Carevision allowed us to make sensible and meaningful decisions and not be stressed with the day to day guidance in care.
End of Life has been particularly challenging and difficult. When someone is reaching their end of days automatically families want to get close to their love ones. How are we going to make families feel comfortable or be able to see their loved ones in the end of their days whilst also applying safeguarding policies or governmental guidance, where previously “No one could enter into premises, to protect those in the vulnerable category”?
As human beings and also our home ethos, we believe in compassion for loved ones to be able to see their family member before they take their last breath.
Maggie B was a ray of light and she was so positive, the life and soul of the party she even wanted to give Sir Captain Tom a run for his money. Sadly, she took a turn for the worse and our GP confirmed she was at end of life and luckily not corona virus related.
She has been with us for many years and we knew the family very well, she wanted to see her daughter. What do we do? Here lies the conundrum that our sector faced.
As Maggie B’s condition began to worsen, there were only so many video calls that you could have. It is human nature to want to see your mother or father before they pass and of course we have the compassion and want for that too, but we had to weigh up the risks vs benefits.
So, we called Maggie B’s family and briefed them about our policy of safeguarding before they could come into the building to see her, we felt that this was only fair.
1.They completed questions on the Carevision family app, declaring if they presented any Covid-19 symptoms or been around anyone with symptoms.
2. We provided a thermal temperature check for anyone entering the building which immediately registers with Carevision.
3. Tests for all staff and the people in our service are regularly conducted along with their results.
4. All visitors must wear full PPE on entering the building.
5. Isolation period for those service users who are most at risk or may have the virus or symptoms.
6. Set visiting times.
7. Social distancing where applicable.
Maggie B’s family were able to come and see her and for that they have been forever grateful. To be able to spend the lasting moments with their mum. Remember we are human beings and memories last forever.
So yes, safeguarding can be about saving lives, but it can also be about well-being and bringing families together. Not just safeguarding ourselves but safeguarding memories as well.
Care Manager and Consultant
London Care and Support Forum (LCAS) Chair