The ongoing Covid 19 pandemic has affected the lives of everyone. For those in care and residential homes, the impact has been additionally hard and it has taken all the resources and dedication of those who provide the care, to protect and shield their vulnerable residents. Sally Neil-Smith, the manager of Heaton House in central Worthing has spoken to Sussex Local about the measures she has implemented to provide a stable environment for her residents.
Heaton House is the only “Outstanding” dementia care home in West Sussex and specialises in the care of early onset dementia residents so the provision of a safe haven with compassionate care is of utmost importance. The home focuses on providing social interaction, companionship and stimulation in a homely environment with ensuite accommodation and a varied choice of nutritious food.
The ongoing pandemic has caused major problems for all residential establishments. At Heaton House, a summerhouse has been utilised for outdoor visits during the warmer months and with heat and light installed, can still be used for such visits when the weather permits. An indoor visiting area has also been created with a large perspex screen and headphones available to assist communication between residents and their visitor. Strict rules are in place to ensure the safety of the residents, their visitors and the staff.
Since August, all residents have been tested for the virus every four weeks and the staff are tested weekly. Sally is proud of the fact that due to their diligence, there have been no cases of coronovirus within the home. Of course, the residents look forward to regular visits from their nominated family member and there is a full risk assessment in place for each visit plus robust infection contol measures.
Sally told us, “The Government are soon to release LFT (Lateral Flow Tests) so we can test everyone for each and every visit, meaning hugs are back!” Everyone has had to adapt in some way or other during this extraordinary period and the management and staff at Heaton House feel they have risen to the challenge admirably.