The safety of our residents and staff is of paramount importance to us. That's why despite the situation changing we'd like to reassure you that we are all working tirelessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone.
These are challenging times, and everyone is understandably anxious about the risk of infection from COVID-19. We want to reassure you and explain more about the steps we’ve put in place to protect the health of everyone living, working or visiting Birchgrove, so that we can continue to remain Covid-free.
All our sales advisors have completed an online Coronavirus Awareness and Protection training. They are up to speed on all the latest prevention guidance, and measures are in place to minimise the risk of infection.
All visitors will have their temperatures checked before entering our premises. They will be provided with a face mask, hand sanitiser and a briefing to explain our Covid-safe procedures. These go well above Government guidelines and are fortified from our own extensive experience
You must make an appointment to visit one of our show suites. Tours are planned to give us time to perform disinfection procedures in between appointments to make sure we have taken the necessary precautions to minimise the risk of transmission. We are open, so you can take a carefully supervised tour to get a taste of our beautiful apartments and life here.
Throughout the day and at hourly intervals all high touch areas, for example door handles, light switches, banisters, etc. are cleaned and disinfected. Our staff are trained in good practice infection prevention and control procedures to make sure the show suites and communal areas are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
We use a Turbo Static Sprayer to allow touchless disinfection which uses electrostatic wrapping to disinfect the underside as well as on top of surfaces and furniture, and increases the chemical dwell time on all surfaces.
Our portable ultra-violet light system means that we can triple check surfaces to make sure nothing has been missed during our strict cleaning regime.
We’ve also launched our own Track & Trace Programme to keep you and your loved ones safe. Before entering one of our buildings, you will be asked to provide a contact telephone number and email address. Should you develop symptoms within 14 days of visiting, you’ll be asked to contact us immediately. This will enable us to take the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of everyone living and working in our retirement communities.
Our Track and Trace programme also works alongside the NHS App and all our retirement communities are registered venues. In addition, all staff have been encouraged to download the NHS Track and Trace App.
To help you through the process of moving, we’ve partnered with hand-selected businesses to ensure your needs come first and hassle is minimised. We call this service Moveasy, and step-by-step it helps you with everything from access to independent financial advice, sorting through your belongings through to moving in on the big day and getting you settled in. All our partners adhere to the same safe working procedures and follow the same strict practices to keep you safe while supporting you to move.
We understand that many of our clients may be reluctant to meet face-to-face during these uncertain times. We will therefore do all we can to support you remotely, either by phone or through video calling.
If you are able, we strongly recommend that you download one of the many freely available video calling apps (e.g. FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc.), either on your smartphone, electronic table device or computer. This will help us to continue having face-to-face meetings with you to help you plan your move; organise where to put furniture in your new apartment; and help you to arrange removals and what to do with excess furniture you don’t want to take into your new apartment. Our staff will be able to support you with downloading apps and getting started with using the video calling technology if you need assistance, simply let us know and we’d be happy to help. Moving to a new home is permitted and the staff and businesses supporting you through the process are classified as keyworkers. All our partners use PPE and follow strict safety standards to protect you and their teams to successfully complete your move.
If you are shielding and are worried about the moving process, then you could take advantage of our Respite offer and move into one of our fully furnished apartments on an interim basis, whilst your own belongings are either moved into your new apartment in readiness for you to transition, or left in your existing home and moved at a later date. Our partners, the Senior Move Partnership, are on hand to help coordinate the move so that moving to us is hassle free even in these uncertain times.
Before you move-in we will carry out a Covd-19 test two days before your move, you will then be asked to self-isolate until your move date. If you test positive, you will not be able to move until a negative test result has been achieved.
Once you move in we will help you to settle into your apartment. We encourage you to have a period of self-isolation after your move in order to clear the incubation period.
As you’d expect and as we’ve shown above, we take our responsibilities to our residents, staff and visitors, very seriously. Therefore a large part of our work has been to track the infection rates – the ‘R’ number – as well as various other measures – internationally, nationally and locally. This informs any future actions we need to take to continue to remain Covid-Free.
We’ve introduced a simple traffic-light system to guide everyone on what to do and when. This outlines the key triggers we will be looking out for at each stage – green, amber, red – and the actions we will take as a result.
There’s no time better than now to make preparations, and our plans will continually evolve as we learn more, and official advice is updated. In preparation for winter and the onset of seasonal flu, we’ve had a local pharmacy administer the flu vaccine to all residents who chose to have it and all our staff to make us all safer together. We can also support you with this process if you have not already had your flu vaccine.
We have secured sufficient stocks of PPE equipment – including masks, gloves and sanitiser – to safeguard us against future supply issues. In addition, all staff and residents have access to an online GP service that provides 24hr access to a GP to help you maintain good health and wellbeing.
If the government decides to lockdown again as a result of infection outbreaks we have created a bio-secure room so family and friend visits can continue. We’ve installed a perspex screen from wall to wall and ceiling to floor, so visitors can be one side and residents safely on the other. We hope this will remove that awful ‘cut off’ feeling entirely.
Our housekeeping staff have a strict cleaning and disinfectant regime for all the communal spaces in our communities, with hourly cleaning of high touch areas throughout the day. We have also limited staff movement to make sure that staff only work at one location and do not move between communities.