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This page is for anyone who requires information and updates about how we are dealing with the current Covid-19 pandemic across MHA care homes, retirement living and community group services.

Following the Prime Minister’s broadcast on Sunday 10 May, we are constantly reviewing the guidance coming out from Government about what this means for our residents and their relatives, members and volunteers. Currently our message is simple – there will be no changes to the way we operate at present.

Over the next week, we will risk assess our homes and schemes and the way we are now operating and consider how we can potentially start to ease restrictions in line with Government guidance. We will also assess how we could perhaps start to allow safe and socially distanced visits to our homes and retirement living schemes in England where they have had no recent cases of Covid-19. Our Scottish and Welsh homes and schemes will remain restricted as their governments have said no changes to lockdown.

Please be assured we will be doing everything possible to make sure colleagues, residents, members and volunteers are not put at any unnecessary risk. We will continue to update you on our plans as we finalise them.

Read our latest advice and information:

Information for relatives and family members of residents in our care homes or retirement living scheme

1. My family member is a resident in one of your care homes, can I visit them? 

While the Government on 11 May announced some easing of restrictions, the advice is that people should not be visiting others in their own home.

As our care homes are people’s homes, this means that there is no change in keeping our care homes closed to visitors.

We are, however, starting work on looking at how we could potentially enable visits to start happening in our homes over the coming weeks and months. This will include carrying out a series of risk assessments to make sure that residents, families, staff and volunteers are kept as safe as possible.

As soon as we are able to start allowing visitors in safely, then we will let you know.

We continue to make sure that, wherever possible, visits to our homes by health personnel are maintained.

As you are no doubt aware, we have already had confirmed cases of Covid-19 in a number of our care homes. Where possible, you will already have been informed via phone or email if the home that your loved one is a resident in, has had a confirmed case of Covid-19. We have also sadly lost some of our loved residents to the virus. Our thoughts are with the families at this time.

We appreciate this time is incredibly hard and emotional for your family and your loved one in our care, however we have had to take this very difficult decision to minimise the spread of Coronavirus and keep our residents and colleagues as safe as possible.

Our chaplaincy service is offering a 24 hour support service for relatives. If you would like to speak to a chaplain, please call 07545 652393 and leave a message. A chaplain will call you back within 24 hours.

2. If I can’t visit my loved one, can I find out if they’re okay and what is going on in the home? 

We’re encouraging our homes to provide updates on what is going on in the home through their individual Facebook pages. If you’re able to, please go to Facebook, and follow both MHA and also the specific home your loved one lives in to get the latest updates. Please note, you will be unable to find out the condition of specific residents through these pages, but you will get an understanding of latest updates and activities going on in the home.

Our care homes are also working hard to provide a series of limited and appropriate activities for their residents, as well as using technology to help families stay in touch through the use of software such as Skype.

If you’re not able to access this, please contact the specific care home to arrange how you can receive updates on your loved one, and the activities from the home. To allow the staff to attend to the residents during the busy morning period, and to ensure health professionals and vital deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) can get through to the home, it would be greatly appreciated if at all possible you could call the home after 11.30am.

3. Can I visit my relative in their home in retirement living? 

While the Government on 11 May announced some easing of restrictions, the advice is that people should not be visiting others in their own home. As our retirement living schemes include people’s own homes, this means there is no change to visiting restrictions.

In addition, people over the age of 70, plus those with underlying health conditions, should still stay at home for 12 weeks in isolation.

Because of this, we are asking that no visits are carried out to our retirement living schemes. We are maintaining, wherever possible, essential visitors only. Essential visitors have been defined here.

In addition, our Live at Home colleagues and volunteers are supporting retirement living residents by helping do shopping for them, for example.

Activities in communal areas are paused and we are asking residents, if they do come out of their home, to observe social distancing at all times.

We are, however, starting work on looking at how we could potentially enable visits to start happening over the coming weeks and months. This will include carrying out a series of risk assessments to make sure that residents, families, staff and volunteers are kept as safe as possible.

4. How can you guarantee the level of care for my family member at this time?  

Our fantastic colleagues and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure our residents are receiving the excellent care and support as always, so please rest assured your loved ones are in compassionate and caring hands.

Unfortunately, some of our colleagues are off work due to shielding, self-isolation or they, sadly, have become symptomatic. We’re working really hard to support our homes and schemes across the country and have launched a national recruitment drive to ensure the staffing levels are maintained. They are then trained, ready and waiting to step in and continue giving your loved one the fantastic care and support they deserve.  

In addition, our homes continue to follow our strict policies on infection control as well as guidance from Public Health England.

If we have a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus in our homes or schemes, then we will isolate the resident and care for them in their own room. Carers will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

For more information about joining MHA at this time, visit our current vacancies page.

For any other questions we haven’t answered here, please visit our FAQs for families and relatives.

5. Are you closing any care homes or retirement living communities? 

All care home and retirement living services are operating as usual but are, sadly, closed to visitors.

6. Guidance and support on the paying of fees and charges at this time 

There is information on support for people on fees and payments during this current time here.

7. Are all homes and schemes practising social distancing? 

In order to provide personal care and support, our staff are required to be in very close proximity to our residents. Carers will also be close to multiple residents each day. Many of our residents are living with dementia and are unable to practice social distancing, which is why we have such stringent hygiene protocols in place.

In terms of how we operate within each home, we continue to adhere to the latest Government guidance on residential care provision.

8. Are you testing for Coronavirus in colleagues and residents? 

Over the past few weeks we have been publicly calling for more testing through the media and also lobbying behind the scenes on this critical issue. Our call has been clear ‘routine, weekly testing for ALL residents and staff’. This has led to MHA working on a Government pilot but more significantly our evidence contributed to the announcement at the No 10 daily briefing that testing of all care staff and residents would now be available, regardless of whether people are showing symptoms.

Up to now the testing has been focused on those presenting symptoms, but we know that some residents and colleagues who are testing positive for the virus are not presenting symptoms at all. It’s therefore vital that we have routine testing on a weekly basis in order to ensure we can isolate those with COVID-19 and make sure we don’t have colleagues at work when they have the virus. Now the policy is in place for routine testing, our priority is to ensure we have enough testing kits to fulfil the government’s commitment.

9. Are you providing personal protective equipment (PPE) in your homes and schemes? 

We want to assure you that because MHA runs 160 care homes and retirement living schemes across the country, we are able to make sure that all of our sites have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for our employees and residents, as we are able to re-allocate and move supplies between our services. This does not, however, take away from the fact that resources are stretched and the current distribution and allocation mechanisms need to be addressed by the Government as a matter of urgency.

We are constantly reviewing our stocks and moving reallocating PPE on a daily basis to ensure all our homes and schemes have the PPE they require. We continue to lobby the Government to supply more to ensure the safety of our staff and residents and have launched an emergency appeal and we continue to collect thousands of signatures on our PPE petition.

We know this is very concerning for our colleagues, their families and our residents. We are stringently following the Public Health advice on the use and types of PPE including when to wear and not wear face masks and which type of gown or apron to use.  Please be assured the health and safety of our colleagues and residents remains our top priority.

We want to emphasise how important it is that sufficient PPE is given to the care sector and also to present the reality of the situation that is replicated across the care sector and the NHS, which has been documented across the media. As one of the largest and longest established providers of care in the UK it is incumbent on MHA to speak up for the older people we care for, our colleagues and the wider sector.

10. My family member is on end of life care. Can I be with them? 

We are making an exception on compassionate grounds to enable people to visit a loved one in the very last days of life, where possible.

In these circumstances one visitor is permitted per day as agreed with the person in charge of the home or retirement living scheme at the time. For their own safety, the visit will be limited to 15 minutes at a time and that visitor will be advised by staff with regard to wearing PPE and social distancing.

All visitors in these circumstances must wash their hands thoroughly on entry to the building and upon leaving the building and must only visit their loved one’s room.

Anyone who is self-isolating because they, or a member of their household, have symptoms of COVID-19 must not visit under any circumstances.

Visits will be arranged over the phone in advance. Visits to the home or retirement living scheme to see someone who is nearing the end of their life are at the visitor’s own risk.

Information on new admissions into our care homes

1. Are you still accepting new care home admissions? 

Yes, many of our care homes are still able to take new admissions.

We are working closely with our local authorities and NHS and are very much aware there are individuals within our local community who may now be vulnerable because of self-isolation.

If you feel that a loved one could benefit from being admitted into a care home during this time, please contact your local MHA care home for further details in the first instance. Full contact details for your nearest MHA care home can be found on our service finder >

2. Can I still visit a care home as part of the enquiry process? 

Yes, you will be able to arrange a viewing of your care home of choice, but there are certain restrictions in place to ensure the ongoing safety of our current residents and members of staff.

You will be able to visit communal areas within the home (lounge, dining areas for example) but visits to some floors and resident bedrooms will be restricted. The exact itinerary for a tour will be confirmed on the day of your visit by the care home manager.

We are sorry but we can only accept two visitors (including any potential resident) at one time, both of whom will need to wear supplied personal protective equipment (PPE).  

Unfortunately we can only accept visitors as part of the new admission process. All other restrictions to external visitors currently remain the same.

3. What procedures are in place for any new admissions into a care home? 

Any new resident or hospital admission to one of our care homes, are put into self-isolation for 14 days, as per the Government guidelines. This is to ensure the continued safety of all existing residents and members of staff.

If there are no symptoms of Covid-19 after 14 days, then self-isolation restrictions will be removed.

Any hospital admissions will need a negative Covid-19 test before being admitted to one of our homes.

4. I want to make a professional admissions referral to your home. What should I do? 

In the first instance, please contact the care manager directly. The home manager will be able to discuss your requirements and identify any particular admission support and discuss fees/funding information.

If you do decide to use one of our homes, then any new admission will be put in self-isolation for the first 14 days as detailed in the ‘What procedures are in place for any new admissions into a care home?’ tab.

Full contact details for your nearest MHA care home can be found on our service finder >

I would like to know how Live at Home services and activities are affected

How Live at Home services and activities are affected 

Sadly, we have also taken the decision to pause all our Live at Home groups, clubs and activities which physically bring people together. However, we continue to offer a range of services such as telephone befriending, shopping, signposting, advice & guidance and general welfare checks.

Please be assured, we are doing all we can to make sure people are cared for and supported throughout this time. We are still accepting new referrals to all of our schemes and these should be directed to your local scheme either through email or telephone. You can find contact details for your local Live at Home scheme using our online service finder >

We are committed to supporting the efforts to delay the spread of coronavirus but to also work with other charities, local authorities, funders and partners to ensure that the needs of our members and older local people are continuing to be met.

Information on working or volunteering for MHA

Recruitment – how you can apply for paid-for and volunteer roles 

We are looking to recruit across a variety of paid and volunteer roles at MHA. These will help us to continue our work and enable people to live later life well. We cannot do this without the dedicated and inspiring work our fantastic colleagues and volunteers deliver across our services, and you could join us on this journey.

Whether you already work in care, or are coming from another industry such as hospitality, retail or travel and searching for a new role, you have the opportunity to make a real difference at a time when your commitment is needed most.

If you’re looking for a paid-for role – visit our current vacancies page

If you’d like to volunteer – visit our volunteering page

Information on how you can support MHA during the Coronavirus outbreak

Sign our PPE petition and make a donation to our emergency Covid-19 Appeal 

Sign our PPE petition

Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, our committed workforce has been working tirelessly to support the residents we care for. We, and our suppliers, have been working around the clock to source and move personal protective equipment (PPE) to where it is needed, to ensure the safety of our residents and colleagues, but it is proving increasingly difficult to do so.

But we shouldn’t be in this position and this is why we need your help. We need you to help us put necessary pressure on the Government and our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, so that we can ensure that our colleagues, and indeed all carers, who have become the second frontline are equipped with all the tools they need to safely do their job. Sign our petition now and help us call for the correct and necessary PPE within the care sector.

Make a donation to our urgent Covid-19 Appeal

We would appreciate any charitable support that you're able to offer during this difficult time which will enable us to continue providing the high-quality care and support that we are recognised for, which is safe to both our residents and care teams. Please make a donation today.

Information for the press and media 

How to contact MHA if you have a media enquiry 

Please contact our PR Manager Theresa Knight by calling 07817 011502 or emailing press@mha.org.uk for media enquiries.

As you will appreciate, our Corporate Affairs team are working hard to service all the media enquiries we receive, and will come back to you as soon as possible. Many thanks for your understanding.

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