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Care Home Visits – New Guidance

The arrival of Covid-19 has meant that a number of restrictions have been placed on care homes to prevent the spread of infection and ensure the health and safety of both care workers and its residents. As the rate of infection is decreasing across the country, these restrictions are being lifted, however, a number of changes will be put in place to keep you and your loved ones safe.

This guidance has been taken from gov.uk.

When will I be able to visit a care home?

All decisions on the circumstances, times and frequency of visits to care homes will ultimately be made by the care home providers themselves. These decisions should be made in line with advice from local directors of public health, who will be developing local ‘dynamic risk assessments’ based on the principles outlined in the government’s guidance.

Please be aware that whilst the ability to visit care homes is looking to increase, it is still being controlled based on these risk assessments and is subject to the specific circumstances of the care home and those living and working within it. This is likely to mean that the frequency of visits will be limited and/or controlled for some time.

Do I need to take a test to be able to visit my relative?

No, however if you are displaying any symptoms of coronavirus you should not visit the care home, self-isolate and order a test immediately.

You may be asked screening questions upon arrival. These include:

  1. Have you been feeling unwell recently?
  2. Have you had recent onset of a new continuous cough?
  3. Do you have a high temperature? A care home may consider providing a temperature check for all visitors to provide confidence to visitors and to staff.
  4. Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
  5. Have you had recent contact (in the last 14 days) with anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or someone with confirmed COVID-19 – if yes, should you be self-isolating as a family member or as a contact advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace?

How do I travel to the care home?

It is encouraged that you walk to the home or use your own transport where possible.

It might be that some assistance is required to enable visitors who are especially vulnerable to get to the care home. Care homes may consider giving visitors telephone numbers or website information of organisations which can offer advice on safe travel arrangements if required.

What is likely to change when I visit my loved one?

You can expect to see a number of changes but remember they are to keep you and your loved ones safe. These include:

  • Care workers will use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in line with guidance from Public Health England and you are will be asked to wear a mask and/or visor when you are in the building. If you are making close personal contact with a resident you may need to wear PPE which goes beyond a face covering.
  • Care homes with an ‘open door’ policy may have to work towards a more regimented booking system. Ad hoc visits are not advised.
  • Care homes should support NHS Test and Trace by keeping a temporary record (including address and phone number) of current and previous residents, staff and visitors, as well as keeping track of visitor numbers and staff.
  • Visitors should have no contact with other residents and minimal contact with care home staff (less than 15 minutes / 2 metres). Where needed, conversations with staff can be arranged over the phone following an in-person visit

How many people can visit a care home at a time?

To limit risk, where visits do go ahead, this should be limited to a single constant visitor, per resident, wherever possible. This is in order to limit the overall numbers of visitors to the care home and the consequent risk of infection.

Will I need to wash my hands or use hand sanitiser?

Yes, visitors should be reminded and provided facilities to wash their hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the home, and to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and clean their hands after disposal of the tissues.

What happens if I can’t see my family or friend in the care home?

If there is a restriction to visitors in place, alternative ways of communicating between residents and their families and friends should be discussed and offered. The care home should also provide regular updates to residents’ loved ones on their mental and physical health, how they are coping and identify any additional ways they might be better supported, including any cultural or religious needs.

Visits to a Covid-19 positive resident should only be made in essential circumstances (for example, end of life).

Share your experiences at our Online Forums

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. All forums take place from 2.00pm – 3.00pm.

If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, members of the team will be available by phone, text and email (see below) each Wednesday after the forums to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom. If you would like help to set up Zoom on your device please ask.

 

Online Forums – all take place between 2.00pm and 3.00pm

Wednesday 20 May: Dementia Services

Wednesday 27 May: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services)

 

Wednesday 3 June: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 10 June: Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Wednesday 17 June: Maternity Services

 

Wednesday 1 July: Mental Health Services

Wednesday 8 July: NHS, Health and Social Care Services – any service you’ve used in the last 12 months

Wednesday 15 July: Unpaid Carers and Mental Health Services

 

Wednesday 12 August: Cancer Services

 

Wednesday 9 September: Children and Young People’s Services. Are you a voluntary or community organisation working with young people? If so, we’d like you to join us for an open discussion on children and young peoples services, particularly around mental health services.

 

Wednesday 18 November:  Dementia Services

 

If you would like to take part in a forum please contact Laura Kane, laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468. We can also help you set up Zoom on your device so please get in touch if you would like some guidance.

Annual Report 2019/20

Our Annual Report for the financial year 2019-20 is out now. Have a look to see what we’ve been up to, what people told us about their experiences of NHS, health and social care and how we made a difference to people in Northumberland.

 

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Report 2019/20.

Have a question about health and social care?

 

As we can’t hold our usual Meet and Greet session before the next Healthwatch Northumberland board meeting on Tuesday 23 June, we are inviting you to send us your questions instead.

If you use health or social care services in Northumberland or want to know more about Healthwatch Northumberland please send your question to Derry Nugent: derryn@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk by 5pm on Monday 22 June. We will answer your question within ten working days. Have a look at the agenda.

View Project Coordinator Derry Nugent’s video message below.

Ask the Board – Derry Nugent

 

 

Call-out for people to lend a hand for the NHS

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is appealing to people who could provide an extra pair of helping hands in these unprecedented times to come forward.

As nationally the NHS looks for volunteers, the trust, which has a hugely-valued volunteer service, is calling on those fit and able between the ages of 16 and 68 to support staff working in hospitals and in the community across Northumberland and North Tyneside to get in touch.

Recognised nationally for the quality of its volunteering programmes, Northumbria, like many NHS organisations, has seen numbers dwindle due to the national guidelines to protect over 70s and those with underlying health conditions.

People do not need medical or care experience, just a commitment to help the NHS cope with the increase in demand as a result of coronavirus.

On a busy ward this could include helping to change beds, making a cuppa, chatting to patients or running errands to help staff speed up processes. Within the community, this could mean linking with other groups to support community health services or those who are socially isolated.

Volunteers would not be asked to carry out the duties of paid staff.

Sir James Mackey, Chief Executive of Northumbria Healthcare said “Quite simply, the NHS here in Northumberland and North Tyneside needs your help. We greatly value the contribution of our hundreds of volunteers and the support they provide to our patients and staff in our hospitals and in the community.

“Sadly, many of our current volunteers have been asked to stand down due to the national guidance. This is absolutely the right thing to do to protect them and their families and, already, we are deeply missing them. As we prepare for more and more patients to need our help, the time is now for us to ask the general public to come forward to support us at this incredibly busy time.

“Please be assured that we only be asking people to provide an extra pair of helping hands which will make a massive difference to our patients and staff during this difficult period.”

People volunteering their time at Northumbria Healthcare must:

  • Be aged between 16 and 68
  • Be fit and well with no underlying health conditions or live, or care for, anyone who does
  • Be subject to checks by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
  • Not have symptoms of a high temperature and/or persistent cough

Northumbria Healthcare already works in partnership with Helpforce to ensure volunteering is an integral part of healthcare and makes a positive difference for patients, volunteers and NHS staff.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, founder of Helpforce, said “As we face unprecedented changes to our way of life, we are working hard with Northumbria Healthcare and our colleagues across our health and care services by looking at practical ways volunteers can help take the strain off frontline services.

“Keeping you and your loved ones safe is an absolute priority, but we must not forget those alone and at higher risk. Please be confident that we are dedicated to doing more and helping our partners to do the same.”

To volunteer or for more information, contact volunteers@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk, 0191 203 1511 or 07768 570178.

Changes to how we operate

We are following government advice and guidelines in light of the coronavirus outbreak and have made changes to the way we operate. We have postponed all of the community events we had planned and from Monday 23 March our staff will be mainly working from home. We are still very much open for business, so if you want to give us feedback on a service you’ve used, or if you are looking for information on local health or support for a particular issue, you can call our signposting service. Get in touch on 03332 408468 or email info@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk.

Our board meeting scheduled for 24 March will not physically take place, but our board members are very much working away in the background and discussing future plans for Healthwatch Northumberland.

We will keep you updated with our plans on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages as things develop nationally.

Latest NHS coronavirus guidance

Quarterly Report October – December 2019

Introduction

As a listening organisation working across Northumberland, Healthwatch Northumberland wants to hear what people like about health and social care services and what can be improved. We act on what people are saying, sharing their views with those who have the power to make change happen. We also help people find the information they need about services in their area and record this as ‘signposting’.

We receive feedback from people living in Northumberland about their experiences throughout the year. This report shares a summary of the feedback collected from October to December 2019.  The next report will cover January – March 2020.

 

This quarter we received feedback and enquiries from:

  • Telephone calls, emails and social media (31%)
  • Postal surveys and feedback forms (12%)
  • Talking to people at local engagement events (27%)
  • Through a meeting (27%)
  • Through a third party (4%)

Areas of Focus

We are open to all feedback about health and social care services. Responses to our Annual Survey helped us to identify three specific Areas of Focus which we are prioritising in 2019/20:

  1. General Practitioner Services (GP Services)
  2. Mental Health Services, including dementia care
  3. Access to Services

Aims

The report aims to increase understanding of:

  • Who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from
  • What people are saying
    • The general sentiment of comments
  • What people are experiencing
    • What is working well?
    • Where there are areas for improvement?

Feedback

Between October and December 2019, we received 26 pieces of feedback through talking to people at local engagement events, telephone calls, emails, our website, surveys and feedback forms and other sources. Alongside this, we signposted 17 people to services. Altogether we had 39 different recordable interactions this quarter.

This report explores who Healthwatch Northumberland is hearing from across the county, presenting a summary demographic information of those who got in touch. Demographic information includes location, gender, age, and whether the respondent is sharing their own health and social care experience or speaking on behalf of a friend or relative.

We also look at whether the feedback is negative or positive, with specific reference to the service type (e.g. primary care, secondary care, mental health, social care), as well as whether the feedback relates specifically to quality of care or access to services.

Read the Quarterly Report for October to December 2019

Healthwatch Northumberland Annual Survey 2020

Tell us your NHS, health and care experiences from last year.

We are running our annual survey during February and March this year, asking you about the NHS, health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home.

By telling us about the care you received and what’s important to you, you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

You can also come and talk to us and tell us what you think of health and social care services at one of our public events below. Let us know about your experiences, what went well and what could be improved, and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you are unable to come to one of our events you can leave your feedback via our online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.

 

Come and see us in your area!

Monday 3 February: Age UK Northumberland, Round House, Ashington NE63 9JZ: 10.00am – 1.00pm (part of the Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group public drop-in)

Tuesday 4 February: Amble Youth Project NE65 0DT: 10.00am – 11.30am (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Wednesday 5 February: No 28 Community Project, Hexham NE46 1DJ: 11.00am – 12.30pm (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Thursday 6 February: Concordia Leisure Centre, Cramlington NE23 6YB: 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Thursday 6 February: Cheviot Centre, Wooler NE71 6BL: 2.00pm – 4.00pm (in partnership with Wooler patient participation group)

Wednesday 12 February: Rothbury Practice NE65 7UW: 10.30am – 12.00pm

Thursday 13 February: Northumbria Hospital (cafe area, lower ground floor), Cramlington NE23 6NZ: 10.00am – 12.00pm

Thursday 13 February: The Village Surgery, Cramlington NE63 6US: 3.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 13 February: Forum Family Practice, Cramlington NE63 6QN: 4.15pm – 5.15pm

Friday 14 February: Spetchells Centre, Prudhoe NE42 5AA: 10.00am – 11.30am (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Wednesday 19 February: Seaton Delaval Community Centre NE25 0BW: 10.00am – 1.00pm (part of the Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group public drop-in)

Wednesday 19 February: Adapt (NE) Community Information Morning, Hexham NE46 3HN: 10.30am – 12.30pm

Thursday 20 February: Morpeth Library NE61 1AF: 3.00pm – 5.00pm

Tuesday 25 February: Riverside Leisure Centre, Morpeth NE61 1PR: 1.30pm – 3.30pm

 

Wednesday 4 March: Morpeth Town Hall NE61 1LZ: 10.00am – 1.00pm (part of the Northumbria Cancer Patient and Carer Group public drop-in)

Monday 9 March: Hexham General Hospital NE46 1QJ: 10.00am – 1.00pm

Wednesday 11 March: Blyth Library NE24 2DJ: 10.30am – 12.00pm

Wednesday 11 March: Blyth Sports Centre NE24 5BT: 1.30pm – 3.30pm

Thursday 12 March: Haltwhistle Leisure Centre NE49 0AX: 1.30pm – 3.00pm (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

Thursday 12 March: Haltwhistle Methodist Church NE49 0AX: 5.00pm – 7.00pm

Wednesday 18 March: Wansbeck General Hospital, Ashington NE63 9JJ: 10.00am – 1.00pm

Wednesday 18 March: Ashington Leisure Centre NE63 9JY: 2.00pm – 4.00pm

Thursday 19 March: Berwick Library (first floor) TD15 1DB: 12.00pm – 2.00pm

Monday 23 March: Bedlington Community Allotment (behind Chester Court Care Home) NE22 7LD: 11.30am – 1.30pm

Friday 27 March:  Gallery Youth Project, Alnwick NE66 1SX: 11.00am – 12.30pm (Bridge Project Employability Hub)

 

 

 

 

Home Care Provision in Coquetdale

Home Care Provision in Coquetdale

This report is the result of joint work between Carers Northumberland, the Coquetdale Carers and Service Users Group and Healthwatch Northumberland looking at the issues of providing Home Care services in the Coquetdale area.
Based on two surveys carried out in 2018, it shows the key concerns and expectations of people who use services and their carers are communication and continuity of service. It also clearly highlights the challenges faced by agencies providing health and care services in a rural area.
We are pleased that Northumberland County Council’s Adult Social Care commissioner was actively involved throughout the process and responded positively to the process and findings and we welcome the progress reported by Age UK Northumberland.
However, the main thank you is to Cathy Jacobs of the Coquetdale Carers and Service Users Group who organised and analysed the surveys and most importantly set the tone for the work from the beginning of raising concerns but at the same time providing insight and suggestions for making things better.

You can read the home care report here

 

 

Events

Dementia Services

Join us to chat about dementia services in Northumberland, the services you or someone you care for have used, and what was good or what could be improved.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Children and Young People’s Services

Are you a voluntary or community organisation working with young people? If so, we’d like you to join us for an open discussion on children and young peoples services, particularly around mental health services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Cancer services: Join our online forum

If you, or someone close to you, have used cancer services in the last 12 months, we’d love to hear about your experiences at our online forum.

Lead Cancer Nurse, Amanda, from Northumbria Healthcare, and Jo from the Northern Cancer Alliance will be there to answer your questions.

You can join us as a cancer patient or carer or as someone who works with people using cancer services, or just if you have an interest in local services and support.

For those who aren’t able or would rather not attend, questions for Amanda, Jo, or Healthwatch Northumberland can be sent via text to: 07413 385275 anytime before 12 August.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Share your experiences – join our online forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

Whilst some of our forums are on specific issues and services, this one is a chance to tell us about any health or social care service you’ve used in the last 12 months. That could be hospitals, GPs, care homes, NHS 111, mental health services, maternity services or dentists and pharmacies.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Mental Health services: Join our online forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

The subject of this online forum is mental health services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane: laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

Find out more about our other online forums

 

Unpaid Carers and Mental Health Online Forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

The subject of this online forum is unpaid carers and mental health services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Laura Kane, laurak@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or call 03332 408468.

 

Find out about our other online forums

 

Mental Health services: Join our online forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

The subject of this online forum is mental health services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Other online forums:

Wednesday 20 May 2.00pm – 3.00pm: Dementia Services.

Wednesday 27 May 2.00 – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services).

 

Adult Social Care: Join our online forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

The subject of this online forum is adult social care services (including support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services), so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Other forums:

Wednesday 20 May 2.00 – 3.00pm: Dementia Services.

Wednesday 3 June 2.00 – 3.00pm: Mental Health Services.

Dementia services: Join our online forum

As we will be unable to get out and about across the county to meet with and listen to people for a while, we’re holding some public online forums, and we’d like you to join us. If you are unable to take part but would like to tell us about your experiences of these services, Caroline and Lesley will be available by phone, text and email each Wednesday between 3.00pm and 4.00pm to listen, answer any questions and help with providing information about services.

The forums will take place via Zoom. Read our guide on how to use Zoom.

The subject of this online forum is dementia services, so if you’d like to share your experiences of services in the last 12 months, or those of someone close to you, please join us.

If you would like to take part please contact Lesley Tweddell, lesleyt@healthwatchnorthumberland.co.uk, or 07803 427 466.

 

Coming soon:

Wednesday 27 May 2.00 – 3.00pm: Adult Social Services (to include support to live independently, care homes, learning disability services).

Wednesday 3 June 2.00 – 3.00pm: Mental Health Services.

Listening Event: Annual Survey Blyth Sports Centre

We are running our annual survey 2020 during February and March this year, asking you about the health and social care you received in the last 12 months – it might be a new year but your experiences from 2019 still matter. Health services include hospital services, GPs, dentists, pharmacists, mental health and ambulance services. Social care is care in the home or in a residential or nursing care home. You can feed back as a patient or carer.

By telling us about the care you received you can help us set our work for the coming year so that we can be more effective on your behalf.

Let us know what’s important to you, what went well and what could be improved and together we can help make care better for everyone in Northumberland.

If you can’t come and see us at one of our events you can share your views via the online survey or get in touch to ask for a postal copy with freepost return.