GETTING READY FOR WINTER

PREPARING FOR AN UNPRECEDENTED WINTER

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.

HOW WINTER IMPACTS OLDER PEOPLE

For those families with loved ones who are elderly, we know the normal effects winter can have on their health and well-being.  Not only are there increased incidences of infectious diseases in the winter months, but non-infectious conditions that affect older people like asthma, chronic pulmonary disease (COPD), ischaemic heart disease and stroke are all exacerbated during this time.   The cold weather significantly impacts respiratory infections – for every 1 degree celsius drop in temperature there is an increase of 10-20% in these infections.  Falls and the risk of falling are also a concern for many family members, despite incidences of emergency hospital admissions varying in the winter months year-on-year.

PREVENTATIVE PLANNING IS CRITICAL

At Oxford Aunts we have been preparing for many months to mitigate the risk of what could be an unprecedented winter.  We know that live-in care is already the safest type of care during the Covid-19 pandemic, given that our homes are a controlled environment with significantly less touch points and contacts than experienced in a care home.   So, what are we doing to ensure our clients, their families and our dedicated carers are kept safe and well and risks are mitigated this winter?

Minimising the risk of Covid-19

We are proud that we have not experienced any Covid-19 outbreaks in any of our client placements.  This has been due to reducing contacts in our clients’ homes, ensuring Government guidelines on social distancing are observed and reinforced, ensuring good personal and environmental hygiene and that the wearing of face coverings are observed.  We are committed to ensuring our carers have all they need to minimise the risk of infection and transmission as we go through the winter months, whilst communicating effectively any changes in our process to ensure the care our clients receive continues to be of the very highest quality.   We already have sufficient stock of PPE and a strong supply chain should it be needed.

Improving client health

Our approach to care planning is highly personalised.  We will provide relevant information and guidance that highlight specific risks to individual clients, for our carers and the clients’ families to use to mitigate risk of other conditions and infections, including influenza.  We continually measure our clients’ health and our dedicated carers are trained to respond efficiently and effectively to changes, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions.

Facilitating hospital discharge

We are working closely with hospital discharge teams throughout Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties to ensure we support faster and safer discharge from hospital.  This enables people to be cared for in the comfort of their own home as quickly as possible, with the right support in place.

Resource planning

We are already planning for the potential impact winter may have on our carers’ own health and well-being, as well as their ability to work.  As our carers will typically live with their client for longer periods of time than other providers, this means risks are already reduced as they are together in a controlled environment with less chance to pick up infections.  We are proud that throughout the pandemic there have been no incidences of us not being able to care for any of our clients.  However, given the forecast for this winter and the increase in Covid-19 transmission, we are being proactive and undertaking additional recruitment into our team to ensure we have sufficient resources to cope effectively.

Talk to us about how we can help keep your loved one safe and well during winter with our high-quality live-in care service – call our dedicated care advisors today on 01865 791107.

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