Coronavirus at FitzRoy – the first 100 days

7th August 2020

There is no doubt that coronavirus is a crisis for the social care sector. We need to stand together and help each other through the most challenging times we have ever faced, to continue to do everything we can to protect the people we support and our staff.

As a national charity supporting around 900 adults with learning disabilities and autism in registered care homes, supported living services or in their own homes, FitzRoy has been at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

The last few months have been the most challenging we have ever experienced. Our staff, the people we support and their families have all been incredible, and we wanted to take a moment to reflect on our responses in the first 100 days – to recognise the hard work of our staff, to take stock and look at lessons learned, especially in preparation for a second wave and a covid-19 future.

As soon as it became clear that coronavirus was becoming a global threat spreading person to person with a very high infection rate, we knew that we needed to take decisive action to protect the people who use our services and our staff.

Preparation

We set up clear decision making and lines of communication, as we knew we needed to keep our finger on the pulse. We achieved this through a cross departmental team who met online daily to:

  • Assess and interpret the impact of the latest government guidance.
  • Review live data captured daily by each FitzRoy service.

We did everything we could to prepare for an outbreak including:

  • Testing our systems and processes – identifying gaps and areas of risk. This included a mock outbreak in our Nottingham care home and a mock emergency shut down of our head office, implementing remote working protocols.
  • Gathering data from every service, so we could identify and assess risks to staffing levels, and the vulnerability of staff and the people we support in terms of underlying health conditions.

Prevention

The fragility of PPE stocks available from Public Health England in the early weeks led to us deciding to organise this centrally. We committed to buying whatever PPE we needed to keep our staff and the people we support safe. A staff member was deployed as a dedicated PPE project manager, in charge of sourcing and distribution.This enabled us to get PPE deliveries to most of our services quickly and efficiently. PPE project manager David Podger:

On a weekly basis I take a van full of stock and drive to meet my regional colleagues and drop off the stock, which they then distribute.

Luck

While we are pleased with our systems and processes for strict infection control and we are proud of the many examples we have of our staff going above and beyond, we also know that – so far – we have been immensely lucky. We don’t know what the next few weeks and months will bring, but we do know that we are as prepared as we can be. Our staff have been challenged beyond anything they have ever experienced before, and have felt fear and anxiety for the people we support as well as their own families. They have faced all this, and continue to do everything they can to keep everyone safe and well.

Thank you

Thank you to the people we support, their families and friends, our staff as well as our supporters, funders and partners. There are so many amazing examples of people and groups making, donating, supporting. We could not have got this far without each and every one of you. We share your commitment and we feel your goodwill – and it means everything to us. Thank you.

Read Coronavirus at FitzRoy – the first 100 days