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The Safety of a Quality Care Home

The safety of a quality care home at Peverel Court Care


Are care homes currently safe? That is the question we are frequently asked. Until there’s a definitive answer to their question, families may consider staying away from care homes – but should they?

The question of whether or not a person is safer in a care home, their own home, or a hospital ward, is not a straightforward answer. Much is dependent on the measures put in place by any given care provider in order to mitigate the risks for their residents and staff.

With COVID-19 continuing to dominate the news headlines around the globe, it’s little wonder that people have concerns about whether their loved ones are, or would be, safe in a residential or nursing care home.


Safety in our care homes

We are now COVID free in all of our homes – and that goes for both staff and residents. We have had one Emergency Support Framework (ESF) call at Merryfield Nursing Home in Witney, near Oxford, that highlights the safety of the home.

We have recently detailed how we’re utilising technology to ensure outstanding infection control in our care homes, along with how we’re rolling out the use of digital care plans and the ways in which we’ve supported our employees through COVID-19.

One of the key uses of technology which we have introduced to all three of our care homes in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is a set of VitalSign Series Temperature-Check Tablets in the entrances to all our homes as part of our infection control measures.

In anticipation of requiring PPE at the very outset of a possible national outbreak, we embarked on a significant procurement programme very early on, ensuring adequate supplies of all required PPE throughout. At no point did any of the Peverel Court Care homes run out of PPE, nor were we required at any point to ration our supplies. Spending a significant sum on commercially available stock ensured we were adequately provided for.

Peverel Court Care have subsequently embarked on a further procurement programme to make sure we are adequately stocked on an ongoing basis for any future national outbreak and any further changes to Public Health England guidance around the use of PPE.

The safety of our residents and employees is fundamental to Peverel Court Care and underlines our core values of Resident Focus, Integrity, Service Quality, Passion and Care for Our Communities.


Are care homes less safe than home care?

Again, there is no single answer to this question, as processes to minimise the spread of the virus will vary greatly from one provider to another. However, where carers are travelling between care recipients – and particularly where they need to regularly use public transport – the risk of transmitting infection will always be there.

“Live-in care, where the carer stays at the individuals home for weeks at a time, has been described as the “safe option”. However, this approach can also have its downsides. In a recent case study we discovered that:

Before coronavirus took hold, the family of an elderly man with mild dementia had opted for live-in care, with a home care agency also visiting regularly to cover any breaks the live-in carer was entitled to.

As it turned out, the live-in carer self-isolated with the client’s father for 8 weeks straight.

During that time, possibly due to boredom and frustration that he couldn’t go out, the father’s dementia became more severe. His behaviour became more aggressive and he started to wander from the house at night to the point where all the doors and windows had to be locked.

Whenever there was an issue, and there were many, the family member who lived nearest – our client’s brother – would get a call from the carer to come and help. This was happening on a more frequent basis and at any time of day or night.

Clearly under normal circumstances, the family would have chosen a care home as the safe option. But despite this, the fear of COVID meant the family decided to carry on with an increasingly unsafe and inadequate situation at home.


Returning our care homes to a new normal

As we continue to implement new technological solutions to provide infection control and reduce the risk for our residents and staff, we’ve been able to reintroduce controlled visits by family. This week we received this lovely note from the daughter of one of our residents at Bartlett’s Residential Care Home, near Aylesbury, Bucks:

Hi Mibell and the whole team,


I just wanted to say that after 5 long months my visit with Dad yesterday was SO lovely. He was relaxed, happy and chatty. To him I am quite sure it only felt like yesterday I had visited (quite possibly with thanks to his Dementia).


Everything about my visit was well organised and with a relaxed feeling as to put us at ease. Please convey my thanks to the whole team.


I am very much looking forward to seeing him again. 


SW xx


About Peverel Court Care

Peverel Court Care is a group of one residential and two nursing homes, located in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire: Bartlett’s Residential Care Home and Stone House Nursing Home in Aylesbury, and Merryfield House Nursing Home in Witney. We are a long-standing family business, providing personalised care, delivered by talented and compassionate people, in exclusive and idyllic settings.

With happiness at the heart of our homes, we recognise and respect the contribution made by our residents to society during their lifetimes. Valued by residents and their families; our reputation, investment in each property, and approach to appointing and developing our staff makes each home unique and the benchmark in premium care.

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Life at Peverel Court Care is settling. We feel cautiously optimistic that the greatest challenges are behind us and we can start to turn our attention to the future.

The number of symptomatic cases across the group is now very small indeed, our processes working to help curb any spread, staffing robust and in some cases even healthier as we draw on the larger pool of available candidates.

Whilst we have remained well stocked on PPE throughout, Government offerings on both PPE and testing is now much more plentiful, albeit still not quite ideal but nonetheless cause for encouragement.

We have also been conducting due diligence on several commercially available anti-body tests, with our first clinic being trialled on staff in one Home on May 11th. The Government are also trialling a ‘track and trace’ app in the Isle of Wight which may in time prove very useful for us. All these developments bode well for the future.

The rise, peak and fall in symptomatic residents seems to have lasted just a few weeks and all does now thankfully look reassuringly normal.

Of course this does not mean we will become complacent, indeed there is much to be learnt from recent events. All processes designed to keep us safe are still in place and being practiced wherever necessary. Furthermore we are acutely aware of the need to protect our residents and staff on an ongoing basis, whilst ensuring quality of life, being respectful of the need for practical living and implementing methods that are both sustainable and effective at the same time.

We have secured the services of several products and contractors designed to do just this, a full list of which can be viewed here – ‘additional precautions’.

We appreciate this will have been a particularly anxious time for our families and can only apologise for some of the inconvenient but necessary restrictions. We will await Government guidelines on how the current lockdown will be changed or loosened and will of course act in accordance. We remain incredibly thankful for the patience and support given by all our relatives and their families and will be looking to safely return to some semblance of further normality as soon as possible. We will keep you updated and will hopefully have more information for you by the beginning of next week.

Staying in touch

We appreciate that this may be a difficult time for families unable to be in close personal contact with their loved ones. We will do all we can to keep families informed via our IT platforms and telephone. Please do contact the Home should you wish to, as we remain fully contactable and will do what we can to facilitate regular remote communications, including by video.

Life at home

Albeit visits from the local community and external entertainment are cancelled for the foreseeable future, our team of activities coordinators and carers are doing a great job in ensuring life in our services remains as comfortable and sociable as possible. Please visit our Facebook page for the latest updates on activities in the Home. We of course ensure that vital medical visits are still made whenever required.

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