A CARE home director has praised the efforts of staff in keeping residents in Worcester free from Covid-19 during the lockdown.

Shelly Andon is the operations director for Ablegrange, which runs the Severn Heights care home, whose 26 residents have so far been unaffected by coronavirus.

She said: "Staff have been just amazing. It is entirely thanks to them that we have stayed Covid-free."

Staff at Severn Heights took pre-emptive measures before the lockdown was imposed in March to ensure their supplies of crucial PPE were not in danger.

This, along with re-enforcing existing health policies such as changing gloves and aprons after every visit to a resident and ensuring social distancing between residents, meant there have so far been no cases of the virus in the home.

Mrs Andon said rather than revolutionary new ideas, staff had focused on reminding each other of their existing hygiene to make sure there were no slip ups.

She said: "We have team meetings every morning and shift handovers where we can remind everyone about infection control procedures and of course there is hand sanitiser everywhere in the home.

"We also asked staff to not come to work in their uniforms but to leave their uniforms here so they can be laundered. Alternatively they can bring their uniforms, laundered, from home in a separate package to ensure there has been no contamination.

"We never ran short of PPE and showed staff all the Public Health England videos about infection control."

Tackling isolation is an issue for care homes at the best of times, but during a pandemic, it becomes a whole different story.

To help keep residents and families together, Severn Heights has a tablet and a mobile phone allowing families to keep seeing their loved ones despite not physically being there.

One example was where a resident was able to see her grand-daughter's maternity scans, something which would not have been possible a generation ago.

In terms of keeping residents' spirits up, Mrs Andon said: "It is remarkable how calm they are. The care staff all really get to know them and go and see them in their rooms and chat.

"They all know the residents, their family history, their likes and dislikes, how they like their tea made - it is these small things that make the difference."

The Callow End care home has recently expanded, meaning Severn Heights can accommodate 48 residents once restrictions on new referrals are lifted.

Mrs Andon said the care industry faces an uncertain future, and that she worries for the people who need to be in care homes but cannot be referred currently due to the crisis.

She said: "There are lots of people at home with dementia or mobility problems who need care. They may be self neglecting and not looking after themselves.

"With referrals being temporarily stopped, some care homes could go out of business."