Whitby care home protects residents with staff lock-in

Staff at a Whitby care home have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect residents from the recent coronavirus outbreak.

Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 3:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 3:38 pm
Staff at Peregrine House, Whitby

Peregrine House, located on Upgang Lane in Whitby, is one of the first independent residential care homes in the country to implement a stringent ‘lock-in’ to reduce the risk of vulnerable residents and staff being exposed to the COVID-19 virus.

Owner Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, registered manager Alison Bedford and deputy manager Megan Collis have spearheaded the initiative which will see staff isolate themselves from all but colleagues and residents.

Alison, a former winner of Registered Manager of the Year at the Great British Care Awards, will lead the team of 30 staff who have agreed to work alternating 12-hour day and night shifts, week on and week off, to care for the 35 elderly and convalescing residents at the home.

Mucking in - Pip Furse peeling potatoes

She said: “The arrangement will cut down by 90% the comings and goings at Peregrine House which carry risk of exposure.

“It shows enormous commitment, as these staff members will not be able to see their own family and friends during the time they are working the lock-in.

“They are an amazing team who stepped up straight away.”

Staff members will work a week on and a week off at a time on twelve hour shifts to make conditions as safe as they can be for residents for the duration of the crisis.

The ambitious plan required significant sacrifices not just from the staff, but their families as well, who are self-isolating at home to ensure they reduce the risk of transmitting infection during the employees off week.

It’s not just staff members who are having an input, resident Pip Furse is almost 92 years old. He wanted to feel useful when he saw how busy staff members were, so he contributed by peeling the potatoes.

Alison and Megan will oversee the initial 14-day stretch and further measures, which have included learning how to do several procedures usually performed by the district nurses, have further reduced contact with the outside world.

The enhanced precautions have been made possible with the cooperation of local hotel proprietor, Richard Newton of The Saxonville Hotel. Mr Newton has contracted rooms to Peregrine House at a concessionary rate during the crisis in order to safely accommodate staff from the care home, removing the need for them to travel to and from their own homes and families each day.

Peregrine House has long been recognised as providing exemplary standards of care and was the first residential home in the country to be awarded a 5-star rating in all categories by the regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission.

Peregrine House has also made available four places for patients from the local hospital in order to free up NHS beds.

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