25th March 2020

To our Aspire clients and relatives,

I am sure you are all aware of the current national measures in place in response to the Covid-19 virus outbreak and hope this post finds you safe and well. 

In earlier communications, I outlined our contingency protocol that would apply should we suffer significant staff shortage over the coming weeks. (We do already have a number of staff who are well, yet have been unable to work due to the Government guidelines in place for those deemed vulnerable due to underlying existing medical conditions). 

Over these last few days, we have experienced additional pressure on the team due to staff absence. This has so far been mitigated by management being out in the community supporting our team and carers working additional hours.

To date, we have been able to meet the essential needs of all our clients, by reducing visit durations and amending visit times, enabling us to reach those most dependent on our service. For clients and relatives this change has affected, I would personally like to thank you for your patience, understanding and support over this last week. 

In response to the ever increasing challenge faced by the Aspire Team and all sectors of Health and Social Care, it is possible we may need to now move onto the phase where some of our clients' non-critical visits will be suspended. This is not something we will consider lightly and we are doing our utmost to prevent this from happening. Our clients safety, welfare and well-being are at the centre of all our decisions and I want to reassure you this will always remain the case. (We expect any periods of staff shortage due to absence, to be temporary as carers will resume usual duties once cleared to return to work). 

We are continually refining our plans in accordance with changes to Government, Public Health England, NHS and World Health Organisation guidance, ensuring we are strictly adhering to their recommendations/regulations. We are also continually monitoring our clients for symptoms of the virus, following NHS advice. 

I know there have been some general concerns nationally about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment. I confirm we have already received our allocation and have ample supplies to meet our needs. Our staff continue to follow the usual mandatory hygiene, hand washing, cross infection control measures and surface cleaning in addition to using the additional PPE in place for the Covid-19 virus. We understand seeing staff in extra PPE can be unsettling and we make sure clients feel safe and understand why these measures are in place. 

As staff are following social distancing guidelines and minimising close personal contact (unless essential), I am aware some of our clients will not be getting the usual level of emotional support and reassurance they are used to. In response to this, I have organised regular telephone calls between visits from their usual carers and I hope this may help them feel less isolated and emotionally supported during this period of uncertainty. 

I would like to clarify the following points: 

  • Carers will be limiting the time spent with clients for their protection and close personal contact will be avoided where possible

  • Extra Personal Protective Equipment supplied by Public Health England will be used
    All essential tasks for critically dependant clients will be completed (intimate supported personal care, medication administration, food/fluid preparation, domestic hygiene)

  • Clients will only be charged for the time carers are working (the minimum charge of 30 minutes will however apply)

  • All our clients are “vulnerable”, with some requiring additional “shielding” measures. We do therefore, require all external visitors to be limited in accordance with Government guidelines, to ensure our staff are also protected (please see link below) 

The Aspire Office remains closed until further notice and our office team are working remotely. Our phone lines and email remain fully operational and are manned to offer support to our clients and staff.

  • Calls made to our Office landline 01303 258348 will be taken by our answering service and passed to our remote staff

  • For emergencies, please use our On Call number 07840 198495

Thanks again to you all for your understanding, if you have concerns or questions, please get in touch.

Kind Regards

Lyndsey Wall
Care Coordinator
The Annex
5-6 Pelham Gardens
Folkestone
Kent
CT20 2LF

Office:    01303 258348
On Call: 07840 198495