Read our April 2020 Newsletter!
I’m sure you’ll all join us in celebrating how truly amazing our care team have been throughout the recent weeks. They are working through this pandemic with their normal smiles and dedication. They are all true superstars.
It is hard this month to differentiate any of our staff and select a carer of the month as they’ve all shown such bravery, determination and commitment in ensuring the safe delivery of your care from Bluebird Care.
However, that being said, we still want to have a carer of the month, and are delighted to announce Leisa McHardy as COTM. Leisa joined us in February 2017 and has been consistently great at her job since then.
She has a positive and cheery outlook and a great relationship with customers, families and colleagues alike. During this time Leisa had faced the pandemic head on, she has not shied away from supporting her customers, even those with worrying symptoms over this time. She has delivered care over this month in such a dignified manner which, I’m sure you’ll all agree is what we stand for and strive to achieve as a service. Please join us in saying a huge well done to Leisa.
We recognise that the full team have all been hardworking and caring so they are all in joint position. Everyone is doing such an EPIC job and it’s great to see care being given the respect and recognition as a valued profession within our society. Please see the section on Care Badge on Page 5.
We would also like to give a warm welcome to our new care staff who have joined us over the last month. Please extend your usual friendly welcome to Nicu, Suman, Debbie, Deborah, Tasha and Alex.
Letter for Customers and their Families
22 APRIL 2020
To our customers and their families
Since our last letter to you on April 15, matters related to Covid-19 continue to be fast moving, specifically around the deliveries of PPE, but I wanted to give you an update as to our current position in regard to the continuing delivery of our services.
I am very pleased to report that we have no known incidents of COVID-19 within our staff teams or customers at this time, which is, of course, good news. We continue to have effective infection control policies and procedures in place as part of our commitment to providing excellent care and these are being reinforced regularly.
I do hope you find these weekly updates useful and informative. It seems a long while since we sent our last customer newsletter (just at the start of COVID19 crisis and before lockdown started). Nonetheless, I hope you enjoy reading this month’s newsletter as despite the current circumstances there is lots of good news and the sense of community spirit has never been higher.
This together with the ongoing feedback and compliments you are paying our staff, really does make a difference and helps ensure the morale and motivation of our frontline staff remains high. You will note the many compliments in this month’s newsletter and we publish these to our staff via email - thank you.
We continue to be on regular webinars with the UK Health Care Association (UKHCA) and are receiving regular updates from them, The Government and Public Heath England ensuring we are fully updated with all we need to know to keep both our customers and all of our staff safe. We issue almost daily emails to our staff in order they are fully informed of any developments and guidance.
Despite the many media stories about the lack of PPE, specifically facemasks, I am pleased to report that of our 2,500 current back order, we’ve had 2,000 delivered which gives us three weeks supply based on the current situation and government guidelines. At the moment we use approximately 500 facemasks per week. We continue to place orders for all PPE to ensure that we have ample supplies.
As you are now no doubt aware, the extension to the deadlines was announced last Thursday by our Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, stating he wants to be "up front with everyone in the UK" about when the government can relax measures. He then went on to list the five points that will influence the government’s decision.
- Making sure the NHS can cope
- Evidence showing a sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates
- Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels
- Being confident in the range of operational challenges, like ensuring testing and the right amount of PPE, are in hand
- Being confident any adjustments will not risk a second peak
He then stated that there have been indications that social distancing measures in place are showing success. But government advisers say the evidence is "mixed and inconsistent", and in some settings infections are increasing and we still don't have infection rates down as much as we need to. Therefore, any change to social distancing measures now would risk significant increase in infections as well as a second peak and an increase in the number of deaths.
As a result, and as expected, the government will keep the current measures in place for three more weeks taking us to at least the 7th May.
More good news on testing, again despite the negativity surrounding the availability of testing, of the two staff who have had to self-isolate due to family members showing symptoms, both staff were invited to have their family members tested locally, the results came back over the week-end (both negative) and the two staff members were able to return to work 7 days earlier than they would have done without the testing. We have been assured that should we have any more staff having to self-isolate, testing will be made available for them.
We are still awaiting information regarding the wider testing of Social Care Staff.
We will continue with the rota system for our office staff to ensure they are available in the evenings and weekends to support our care staff. To that end you may find some of them out delivering your care. Please rest assured they are all experienced care staff.
You will also find attached a document from us on Tips on Supporting People Who are Isolated or vulnerable during COVID-19 crisis. Whilst it may not be appropriate for everyone, we wanted to share this with you to help give you some tips and ideas of how to stay well during this difficult time. The pack also includes a list of different activities you could consider.
The pack provides generic advice so please adapt it to the person’s needs and only try activities that are appropriate and safe for the individual.
As always, please contact us immediately if you or a family member:
- Have any symptoms of respiratory illness, including a cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath.
- Have been diagnosed with or exposed to anyone diagnosed with COVID-19;
- Have reason to believe you, someone in your household, or someone you have close contact with has been exposed to COVID-19; and/or
- Have travelled, or anyone in your household has travelled, abroad in the last 14 days
Thank you for your continued trust in us here at Bluebird Care. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we work to support the health and wellness of our valued customers. Our teams will continue to provide updates as needed and of course you are most welcome to contact us by telephone or email if you have any questions. Our website is being kept up to date and further information and links to additional sources of information can be found there.
Anne Inglis, Director
– each month we list some of the many compliments received from you about us so we can share the word…
- A customer sent a message to say many thanks and best wishes to all the marvellous Bluebirds. ‘Long may you fly’
- A customer emailed to highlight the fantastic care provided by Monika Struk during her time looking after his wife. She was most helpful in difficult circumstances over a very long period and they were very fond of her, and her other carers. He said that Monika’s care at the end was exemplary and will be remembered by him and the rest of the family as a highlight of his wife’s life and death.
- Whilst on a call to a customer Gabi was told by him to say a big thank you to all at Bluebird Care for all the great work we do and he said he was very impressed that we carry on with our work in the current situation .
- A family member wanted to thank everybody for stepping in and helping support her mum when she was unwell. She said Bluebird Care took such a good care of her mum and that she had her mind at ease while she is away.
- When Gigi was leaving a care visit passers-by stopped her, clarified she was a carer, then said "Thank you for all that you're doing." These random acts of kindness are most heart-warming. Rosemary, Brian and Smudge (the small black dog) want to pass on their love to us carers.
- A customer sends all his respect to all Bluebird carers. He said we are doing a wonderful job and he thanks us all for all our efforts. Also, he is sending his regards to Sarah.
- A customer and daughter emailed to say how absolutely fantastic Jessy is; “she left a short time ago and in those two hours she accomplished so much. She showered my mother, did a lot of cleaning and housework and was so lovely in personality and temperament. The house looks so much better than before her visit and smells so fresh.
- We are both delighted with her visits here, she goes above and beyond what we ever expected”.
- Whilst writing a customer wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone at Bluebird Care for the tremendous work you do and are continuing to do during this very difficult time. I hope that this crisis will be a wake up call to the Government that the care profession needs to have much more recognition than has previously been the case given the vital role you play in caring for the elderly and vulnerable.
- A customer called to say he was very impressed with Carlos and he did very well. Michael would like to have him next week as well if possible. This was arranged.
- A live-in carer called to say a big thank you to Corina for doing a big shop for her and the customer to ensure they were safe and well provided for, she said at times like this it’s great that we are looking after them so well.
- A customer emailed to say “Very, very many thanks for your informative newsletters. I cannot thank you and all Bluebird staff enough for the caring and efficient service that you offer and maintain consistently. All of you deserve the highest praise!”
- Amanda messaged to say that as she was driving around one day in March that she noticed how many of the general public were waving and smiling at her and even saying what a good job we are all doing this had made her day! She continued to thank everyone in the office and saying what a good job everyone is doing there too!
- A customer’s daughter mentioned that her mum had her shower assisted by Marija Mustac and she really enjoyed it and appreciated that Marija was very good.
- On behalf of the family please extend our greatest thanks to all the carers and support staff who have been looking after Mum & Dad over the past week and in the future. They gave a special mention to Gurdip Cheema.
- Two carers passed on that Ilona was very supportive with them by explaining all the tasks and any question they may have.
- Whilst shadowing Mona (Manjinder) at a customer, Luis said she did a great job, following the care plan and supporting Sanja who was there for the first time in the morning call. Also, the customer said that Mona is one of the best carers.
- A family member said she would like to thank us for what we are doing for her parents
- especially with everything going on at the moment. she said she would like to take her hat off to us and she said she wouldn't know what they would have done without us.
- A customer told us she is very happy with Eni who is always ready to help with a smile.
- A customer said a big thank you to the team at Bluebird for your assistance with arranging Mum's discharge from hospital, and for having everything in place for care visits to restart immediately.
- A customer called to tell us Ivana B is outstanding, I asked if there was anything in particular for her being outstanding, he said nothing else she is just outstanding.
We at Bluebird Care are proud to be wearing the Care Badge and want all of our staff to wear with pride!
Mr Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, recently announced this as a "badge of honour" to allow care workers to "proudly and publicly identify themselves" during the pandemic - in a bid to boost public recognition of all those in caring roles.
What is the CARE badge?
The CARE badge is a unifying symbol of pride and quality in care. The CARE badge campaign was launched at the end of June 2019 at The Residential & Home Care Show at ExCel London and only a few days later was being worn by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Matt Hancock. While the significance of wearing the CARE badge is personal to our staff, benefits include:
• Showing involvement with and/or support of care in its many forms
• Building team spirit within a widely distributed care community
• Shows personal commitment to quality in care
• Is an invitation to start conversations about care
• Encourages recruitment and retention in care
• Reinforces the size and importance of this which is often-overlooked community.
We wear the CARE badge and are proud of everything that we do because we are very proud of it. If any of our customer’s informal carers out there would like one please contact us and let us know.
We are also pleased to announce we have sourced our care team some car stickers to allow their keyworker status to be easily identified within the community.
Every little helps!
And as always, we are recognising the work anniversaries of our staff. We send a personalised email from Ian recognising their work anniversary but based on feedback from our care staff, we also wanted to recognise it in both the Staff and Customer Newsletter. Only one this month……
Snjezana Raju - 2 years
Covid 19 Community Spirit Celebrations
We are delighted to have made a donation of £100 to ‘Manufacturing Free PPE for Key Workers’, Manufacturing free PPE for key workers an initiative led by local businessman Tom McMillan, who has so far made over 500 face shields for key workers on his 3D printer. Tom has given us 30 face shields for our care staff and as a consequence, we are confident that should we ever have the need to use the face shields we will have ample supply. We want to thank Tom for all his brilliant work, we really appreciate it.
Remember however that the government guidelines continues to be that we only need these if we are providing care to someone who is showing symptoms of, or has been diagnosed with, COVID-19, or is living with someone who has the symptoms or been diagnosed.
Ben & Dean provide another type of ‘service’ for our carers!
Ben & Dean White of KB Autotech and DJW Cars have been our partners for a few years now when it comes to sourcing good quality cars for our care staff. The guys also do fantastic work servicing and maintaining the vehicles, and we all love having friendly, skilled and trustworthy experts we can call on for support when we need it.
Ben & Dean had heard that we were having some difficulty sourcing FFP3 facemasks (we cannot find a stockist) and they immediately dipped into their own resources and dropped off 15 to us yesterday! We are bowled over by their consideration and willingness to help us when they found out we were up against it. We can’t recommend them highly enough. Again, government guidelines are that we only need to use them under the same circumstances as the visors.
We were all knocked out when Alex of Salter Fruits dropped into the office this week to donate a huge basket of high quality fruit and vegetables. Alex is from Burnham, and you can find him at the bottom of Burnham High Street near the Working Man’s Club every Sunday from 8am until its all gone.
So, when our carers are coming into the office to pick up PPE, they are leaving with some of this wonderful produce too, helping them to stay healthy in these difficult times. Thanks Alex, from everyone at Bluebird Care!