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COVID 19 - Age UK Essex measures in place

Updated Tuesday 24 March

Please see all important updates to our services below

Toenail Cutting Service updated 19 March

Diane Nicola, Chief Executive comments as follows:

"As you are aware, the number of cases of Coronavirus (COVID 19) continues to rise and the government and the NHS continue to issue guidance.

Please see below, an update as to what measures Age UK Essex have put in place so we are as prepared as we can be should the virus escalate as is expected over the coming weeks/months.

First and foremost, we have a duty of care to our staff, volunteers, and clients. We also need to manage our services as efficiently as possible in a situation where much is out of our control, therefore we are controlling the things we can.

As an organisation we have already put in place a number of measures to help reduce the risk of infection including anti-bacterial hand washes, additional signage and advice about hand washing as well as signposting people to government websites. 

We have in place a robust Business Continuity Plan which we are now implementing. The plan is designed to ensure that we minimise the risk to the health of older people, staff and volunteers whilst at the same time ensuring that we can continue to support and provide services to older people and respect their choice to live independently.

The individual services outlined below are based on our Business Continuity Plan and the prevailing medical advice from Professor Chris Whitty the Chief Medical Officer for England and from Public Health England, whilst employment-based advice for our staff is being provided by ACAS and the government websites.

We will continue to take the advice given by the government and apply it in a practical way to our own services. 

As reassurance to our stakeholders we are happy to share the following information with you which addresses each service across the charity. Ours services have their own continuity plan to cover the most recent events and in summary they are as follows:

Advocacy 

  • All staff working on our Advocacy related projects (Smart Life, PCN Link Workers etc) are working remotely continuing to supply reassurance, guidance and support.
  • In House Advocacy home visits haved stopped for the duration and will resume when we are better placed to deliver a risk free service.

Befriending

  • A contingency plan is in place and staff and volunteers have been informed of what to do in the event that they become unwell.
  • We are continuing with telephone befriending in the usual way.
  • Clients who are usually visited at home by a volunteer befriender have been offered a telephone call as an alternative.
  • Telephone befrienders who would normally work from the offices have been asked to make their calls from home where possible.
  • Our befriending staff are working remotely and will still be available via the normal office contact details (visit the Befriending service page for information) during the usual office opening hours.

Customer Care Team

  • Our Home Help and Toenail Cutting Service/s Customer Care Senior Management Team and daily operations will continue to operate via the normal office contact details (visit the Home Help service page for information) during the usual office opening hours.

Home Help 

  • We have identified clients who are a priority, these being clients for whom we do shopping and clients who do not have a next of kin or family nearby to support them. 
  • All priority clients are guaranteed to receive food subject to staff availability, and this may mean that all office staff may be called upon to collect shopping and deliver to a client if no Home Help is available.
  • All clients have been informed that should they need additional shopping, they are to inform their Home Help as soon as possible to make arrangements.
  • We will continue to run this service with staff working remotely to minimise disruption and to ensure our clients receive the best possible service we can provide. 
  • All Home Helps have received guidance on what to do in the event that one of their clients is unwell when they visit. 
  • Clients will need to inform the Home Help service if they are self-isolating.
Self isolation and social distancing  
  • Clients will need to inform the Home Help Service immediately if they are self-isolating.
  • Home Helps will remain 2 metres away from clients at all times which may mean being in separate rooms.
  • Our Home Helps have been instructed to practice social distancing at all times as per the latest government guidance.
  • If a Home Help attends a property where a client has a visitor/s in the home, under the government social distancing guidance, the Home Help will not be able to carry out the visit, will not enter the property at any time, and will leave immediately.
  •  

Fundraising & Marketing/networking events/promotion

  • Our team will not be attending any planned events in the foreseeable future until it is safe to resume usual practice. 
  • Services will not be actively promoted within the community where there is to be any type of gathering until it is safe to resume usual practice.

Information and Advice

  • Because the majority of our I&A work is now over the phone, if staff become unwell, our contingency plan involves extending the existing integration with the National I&A line if need be. 

Management support 

  • As we use a cloud based system across the charity, our staff are able to carry out most daily/normal functions as usual.

Toenail Cutting Service

Updated on 24 March

  • We regret to inform you that as of Thursday 19 March 2020 we have been forced to make a really tough decision, which is to permanently close our Toenail Cutting Service down, mainly due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak and the high risk that we have been presented with. The current circumstances are beyond our control and have left the service unsustainable.

    We would like to thank our clients who have benefited from the service for their continued loyalty over the years and sincerely apologise for any disappointment the closure may have caused.

    All clients who are currently registered with this service will be contacted in writing.

Volunteers

  • Our amazing volunteers have been asked not to visit anyone in their own home, however, we are inviting all volunteers to take on other roles in the interim period, such as telephone befriending, to address the debilitating effects of loneliness and/or social isolation.

I will continue to monitor our charitable support and activities in accordance with the latest government guidance and news reports as they unfold on a daily basis, and the above information may be subject to change going forward.

Please be assured that we have a very experienced and strong team at Age UK Essex which is made up of Senior Management staff, operational and frontline service staff and volunteers who operate across the charity and together, we are continuously working to mitigate risk, whilst delivering the valuable services that are so important to our clients, their families/carers more than ever before. 

In the meantime, we will continue to provide updates as necessary."

Useful websites with up to date information

Age UK advice

World Health Organisation

NHS UK Questions Answered

Government information

BBC UK News for up to date news bulletins