Carers Group: 14/12/20

Our last Carers Group of 2020. It has been a very difficult year for many reasons. We were pleased that this evening’s group had many positive comments and stories.

Janet’s report from the Greenwich Dementia Action Group (DAG)

The group had a very interesting insight into what the council have been doing to support and protect those in care homes. This information was correct at the time of the meeting, but subject to change afterwards.

  • Homes had allocated “staff wellbeing rooms” to allow staff (who are on 12 hour shifts) to have a space to take a beak from the stress of their work.
  • The council had made a commitment that no-one with a positive covid test would be discharged from hospital into a care home. Those waiting discharge would have a test 24 hours before leaving the hospital. If they were positive, then they would be placed in the Eltham Community Hospital, or remain in hospital, until they were clear.
  • Decisions on having visitors in care homes must be agreed by the local Director of Public Health, after appropriate safeguards have been put in place.
  • Visitors to care homes will need to be tested 24 hours before their visit. On arrival, they will need to change their clothes and wear a mask. They will be allowed to hug their relative, but not kiss them.
  • “Lateral-flow” 30 minus tests will be rolled-out, following a pilot. This test is very staff-time-intensive.
  • Visits will take place in bedrooms or visitor areas.
  • The vaccine is being rolled-out to residents and staff from 3 local hospitals: Kings, Guys and the Princess Royal. At the time of the meeting the vaccine was being distributed in packs of 975, which could not be split and needed to be used within 3 days.
  • Once vaccinated the usual hands/face/space rules still apply.
  • Testing for the virus will be once each week. If there is an outbreak, then an action meeting will be held within 24 hours.
  • Care home inspections have ben suspended for the time being.
  • Staff should not now work across multiple sites or multiple locations within one home.

Visiting care homes (carers’ experiences)

The arrangements are changing regularly, as the government policy twists, u-turns, and is re-interpreted.

One carer told us she had been told the Christmas arrangements at her mum’s care home would involve: A quick virus test (the 20 minute Lateral Flow Test), clean cloths, masks etc, chaperoning by staff = a 15 minute visit.

Another carer said her relative’s home would be ready for visits soon, using a perspex screen to divide the room. She couldn’t get an appointment until 28th December.

Reducing medication

A long standing member of our Friendship Group had benefitted from having her medication reduced, following a cautious plan. Her paranoia had resurfaced, but was forgotten after 30 seconds – an interesting trade-off.

A degree of stress

An unexpected discussion had come about for a carer when his sister became distressed about not getting a first class degree – 30 years ago. Other concerns were around mobile phones, flu jabs, virus jabs, and taking carbon as a supplement, to name a few.

Eating and drinking

A husband forgets to drink, which causes medical issues. A mum has decided she will only eat chops, which has not caused any problems. Carers need to go with the flow.

Covid vaccinations

We have one mum lined up for a vaccination on 11 January at Guy’s hospital and another at the Pru. It looks like the NHS is rapidly contacting people in the top category of those in need. Both of the mums’ carers were in a rather positive mood.

We hope the New Year brings more good news. We are back on 11th January 2021.

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