With the English nation back in lockdown until Thursday 3rd December, it is important to ensure your elderly loved ones are safe. Oxford Aunts has outlined some simple steps you can take to support them.
Stay in touch with your elderly loved ones through the use of technology
It’s important that your elderly loved ones self-isolate during this second lockdown, in order to keep themselves as safe as possible. However, you don’t want them to become lonely and isolated from family and friends. Set up regular phone calls and video calls to enable your loved one to continue to socialise with the outside world.
Get them tested if they show any symptoms
Make sure your elderly loved ones discuss any symptoms they may be experiencing. Early symptoms can be dismissed as a cold. If they are experiencing any symptoms, make sure you arrange for them to seek medical advice through NHS 111 or their own GP.
Arrange online shopping and prescription delivery
With your elderly loved one self isolating, it is vital they still have access to their essentials. If you are unable to shop for them, ensure online delivery slots and prescription deliveries are arranged.
Promote exercise, fresh air and adequate hydration
Even if your loved one is self-isolating, encourage them to continue light exercise, if their health condition allows. If they have access to a garden, promote time in the day outside in the fresh air. It is also important that they keep their home well ventilated, so encourage having windows open at times throughout the day and encourage them to keep well hydrated.
Talk to your loved-one’s live-in carer
Make sure you communicate with your loved-ones carer. They will be able to support you with the above suggestions, and more importantly give you peace of mind that your loved one is safe and well.
The recent pandemic has highlighted the potential risk that care home settings pose to elderly residents. At Oxford Aunts we are always looking for opportunities to improve our clients quality of life and even more so during these unprecedented times.
A recent survey by the Live-In Care Hub found that 29.3% of care home residents deaths were related to COVID-19 compared to live-in care where only 0.17% of deaths were attributed to COVID-19 or a related illness.
Here at Oxford Aunts we are proud to say we have had a 0.02% rate of infection, transmission or death within our client and carer community as a result of the strict infection control measures implemented at the beginning of the pandemic.
Case Study 1
Mr G was 88 years old living in a care home with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body dementia. His mobility had reduced however he was able to transfer from chair to chair with the support of two carers and equipment. He appeared to have given up, was not eating or drinking and he was diagnosed as being at the end of his life. Mr G wanted to go home and was encouraged by his wife, who was missing him and was desperate for him to return home so they could spend his last days together.
Oxford Aunts Assessor, Amanda, was unable to visit the care home initially due to Covid-19 restrictions so she visited the family home to check it was appropriate and spoke to the Care Home Manager to assess Mr G’s needs over the phone. It was agreed that there should be an OT assessment to make sure there was suitable equipment in place, a SALT assessment be completed and the report from the Parkinson’s Nurse checked, before we could provide care. Amanda explained the steps that were needed to Mr G’s wife and the Care Home Manager agreed that she could assess Mr G in person.
Thankfully there was no pressure for Mr G to leave the care home on a particular date so there was time for all the necessary conversations and assessments to take place and for the right equipment and suitably experienced carers available as his care was complex. Mr G was able to return home on 24th August with two live-in carers in place to meet his needs.
Sadly, Mr G passed away in December 2020 however, he was able to do this in his own home and after three months of living with his wife, who was incredibly grateful to have this very special time with him.
Case Study 2
Mrs J was in Milton Keynes hospital when her step-niece got in touch to organise long-term live-in care. She was planning to go to a care home first for extra support until live-in care could be arranged.
Mrs J has no cognitive impairment and is independent and at times stubborn with her decision making. She has osteoporosis and stenosis of the spine. She had been in hospital for two weeks following a fall. Prior to this she had four visits a day from domiciliary carers to support with personal care and meal preparation. Mrs J was very prone to falls and had got into the habit of dehydrating herself to limit the number of times she got up to go to the toilet at night. A catheter had been fitted so night calls were now few and far between.
Mrs J had live-in care before for a short time previously however it hadn’t worked out.
The challenge when arranging care for Mrs J was deciding if she needed one or two carers to transfer from bed to chair or chair to wheelchair, so that she could have the freedom to move around her home. She was just about able to weight-bear however, if she needed two carers then the NHS would organise four care visits per day for six weeks to assist the live-in carer, after which a domiciliary care agency would again be needed. The Occupational Therapist said that it may be possible for transfers to be handled with one person after some time of rehabilitation.
Once she returned home Mrs J would have a hospital bed downstairs and either a Sara Steady or hoist to transfer. Our Care Assessor visited Mrs J’s home and initially had to complete her assessment of care needs over the phone with care home staff due to visiting restrictions implemented because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Care Assessor was still unsure if one or two carers were needed and was going to propose two carers to ensure safe manual handling techniques could be practised. However, the care home changed its approach and allowed a visit with full Personal Protective Equipment and social distancing in place. The Care Assessor could then observe that Mrs J could be safely transferred with one carer using a Sara Steady, so live-in care could start quickly without being dependent on a second domiciliary or NHS service for support.
The service started in October and has been a huge success as Mrs J can now enjoy a return to her busy social life speaking to her friends on the phone or meeting them when Covid restrictions allow. She has even recommended Oxford Aunts to her many friends and acquaintances.
The statistics regarding the effect the recent pandemic has had on care home residents is deeply saddening, and despite the valiant efforts made by our care home colleagues. Unfortunately the numbers are a realistic insight into the damage that has been caused.
Oxford Aunts are proud to be offering a safer alternative with live-in care.
The heart-warming examples of what a home environment can bring to a client highlights the real benefits of familiar surroundings being supported by professional live in carers and where possible close family members.
At Oxford Aunts we understand there’s nowhere better than home so for more advice on the life changing care we provide across Oxfordshire and surrounding counties please contact Client Services – 01865 791017.
Oxford Aunts was started in 1967 by two sisters and a friend, who wanted to provide good quality home services to those in the local area. The business was focused on offering cleaning, baby-sitting services and domiciliary care.
With an entrepreneurial spirit the team expanded the Oxford Aunts’ service in 1984 to offer families looking for long-term care with a real alternative to moving their loved one into a care home and launched its live-in care service.
Over the past 30 years, Oxford Aunts has established a reputation for high quality live-in care throughout Oxfordshire and its surrounding counties. We have helped thousands of families to enable them to live well at home with the support of an experienced, trained and dedicated carer.
Our service is rated ‘Good’ by CQC in all five measures – safe, caring, effective, responsive and well-led – which we know provides families with peace of mind that their loved one or family member is receiving the highest standards of live-in care at a time they need it most.
Many will remember the heart-wrenching images of families visiting residents in care homes at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – gazing through the window of the home just to get a glimpse of their loved ones. However, this has now been replaced with confusion and turmoil for the 400,000 plus care home residents and their families across the country as the new guidance over visitors to care homes is interpreted differently by different care providers.
GUIDANCE GIVES RELIEF TO SOME
Since July when lockdown eased in England many care home providers have been facilitating one-to-one visits for families in their gardens as we have been able to enjoy the warmer climate. Whilst clearly this is better than the forced separation endured by many families, it has not enabled families to maintain meaningful contact that is so important to those living in care homes, where loneliness and isolation has been prevalent during the last six months when visits were restricted and outbreaks in homes managed. For those living with conditions like dementia, it will have been extremely difficult to comprehend. Read More
At Oxford Aunts we recognise the importance of preventative planning to keep people safe and well in their own homes, particularly in the winter months. This year with the prevalence of Covid-19 in our communities and a potential second wave of transmission and infection we are working hard as a team to be ready to meet all these challenges.
A HEALTH SERVICE THAT COULD STRUGGLE TO COPE
As we know the NHS and social care systems typically operate at maximum capacity in the winter months, with bed occupancy exceeding 95% in recent years. We are now facing a large resurgence in Covid-19 nationally, with potential local or regional pandemics, on-going disruption and the knock-on effect on the NHS and care systems from the first wave, a backlog of routine clinical care and the threat of an influenza epidemic is looming. These are all going to affect the NHS’ and social care’s ability to cope and meet the needs of older people who will be affected not only by this, but the usual winter pressures. Read More
For those living with a long-term condition that is impacts your health and well-being, we understand how difficult life can be at times. Complex conditions now so common for older people, like dementia and Parkinson’s that impact your physical and mental health can vary in severity and affect people differently.
At Oxford Aunts we have been providing specialist care and support to those living with complex conditions for over 50 years and know how important it is for families to have the support they need, not just in terms of their care needs, but for the emotional and psychological effects many experience. Family and loved ones of course play a significant role, but there are lots of leading charities and support networks that can offer specific information, guidance and support for those living with long-term conditions that affect older people.
Here we explain what support is available. Read More