A Maidenhead care service is one of a number across the country which has been chosen to pilot a national review into Infection Prevention and Control as a result of its good practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Optalis short break service, Allenby Road, a four-bedroom facility offering 24-hour respite care for adults with learning disabilities, has so far avoided having any cases of coronavirus among its staff and residents, thanks to the strict procedures it has in place.
The service impressed the Care Quality Commission (CQC) during its Emergency Framework Interview, which saw inspectors speak to registered managers across the country at the peak of the pandemic.
Allenby Road was then one of 300 sites chosen to pilot the review into how care homes would manage should the UK suffer a second wave of COVID-19. The review allowed CQC to learn about the strengths of the service and identify any gaps or concerns around Infection Prevention Practice, where they could signpost to other resources.
Following the visit, which took place on 10th August, the inspection report found several examples of good practice at the home including correct safety procedures, the availability of essential equipment such as PPE in sufficient quantities to help manage the impact of COVID-19, systems to ensure the environment was conducive to containing another outbreak were clear and accessible to people using the service.
Judith Nalusiba, Optalis’ Registered Manager at Allenby Road, said the inspector had run through their procedures and was particularly impressed with their signage.
She said: “We look after people with learning difficulties, therefore trying to explain how to respond to the risks regarding infection prevention and control to them wouldn’t be easy to grasp. Instead we use signage or pictures so everything is simple and clear, for example where to go in order to maintain social distancing or how they wash their hands.
“It was lovely to receive such positive feedback. The staff team is always looking at ways to improve the quality of support offered. Being a respite service, we have been very strict in our procedures. When the pandemic started, it was scary at first. Families and the staff team wondered what would happen if they couldn’t carry on with their daily routine or be able to work, it’s been a blessing that everyone stayed safe and well during this tough period and the service was still open for emergency admissions.
“Sharing information has helped hugely. We have managers’ meetings every Monday where we all give feedback on how the home has been running. It’s not just internal, we also shared information with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. It’s good to share what has, and hasn’t, been working; to know what we were doing well and what could be better. We kept up to date with all changes and carried on working. When the testing started, no-one was unwell. We have been lucky, but it has been a learning curve for everyone.”