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A new post from Horsfall House, Minchinhampton

2nd April 2020

We are now well into the second week of the official ‘lock down’ though Horsfall House has been on a war footing for longer. Stamina is required as this crisis will last for some time yet. I pay credit to all our staff but particularly to our General Manager, Margaret Greaves, who has been tireless in marshalling our defences and caring for all.

The lack of Personal Protective Equipment has been highlighted in the press; we have not suffered any shortages and for the time being have sufficient stock. We are of course reliant on the supply chain and keeping on top of this is an ongoing issue – well done to the team for doing so. We have also heard of profiteering by some suppliers; again, this has not affected us and thank you for the integrity of our supplier DJB. An ongoing concern is the lack of antibody testing both for our staff, for residents and other service users. The government, with others, is working hard to provide this but I am concerned that the effort is directed, initially, only to the NHS when the need is much wider. We will continue to press through the Gloucestershire Care Providers Association and the commissioning bodies at Gloucestershire County Council.

In the last seven days up to the end of yesterday our Home Care Team have undertaken 1,002 visits, attending to 76 at risk service users in our community. We have 30 staff out in the field who continue to be fully committed. They are being supported by Diane Moreton and her administration team working largely from their homes but when necessary from Horsfall House where they are isolated from the main home.

In the home itself we have 42 residents currently being looked after by a team of 125 people including Registered Nurses, Care Assistants, Kitchen, Laundry, Cleaning and Maintenance and not forgetting our Administration staff. Our Day Centre Drivers have continued to provide support to Adrian inredecorating the Day Centre, which has now been closed for two weeks. This facility has been prepared as an emergency staff dormitory. Emma Haste, Day Centre Manager and her team of seven redeployed care staff are all supporting every aspect of the main home and Home Care. Emma is also keeping in regular contact with our Day Centre Clients.

The weather has been kind to us, though cold, in the last week but whenever possible residents are being taken into the wonderful garden at Horsfall House and activities are being maintained by our staff. Sadly, external support for this has not been possible as we are minimising all contact with the outside world as we work maintain our Covid barriers.

Our website has been work in progress for a while and this continues. The site is up and running thanks to Dee Wiggett’s hard work and will continually be improved in the coming weeks. We are a charity and the Coronavirus has meant that all fund raising activity has ceased. There is a giving page on the web site and any contribution to support would be very welcome. On that front a huge thank you to the local community who have kindly been donating chocolate eggs and other goodies.

Christopher Fisher

Chair of the Management Board

Minchinhampton Centre For the Elderly