Newsletter #37 – Monday, 30th November 2020.
Nettlestead, Priors Mead and HomeCare are all at Implementation Level Two.
We would like to say a big Thank You to everyone who was kind enough to to respond to our request for 5 Star Reviews which were very much appreciated. If anyone is still considering doing so, the links are below.
For too long now our Residents have been unable to see their Families, save in very restricted circumstances, and the similar caution our Clients have been showing has had a considerable impact on everyone concerned. In fact, no one has been left untouched by the Pandemic.
Some keys to unlock this nightmare should shortly be available to us in the form of Vaccines, and our industry has been placed at the front of the queue. However, these keys will only unlock the door to a more normal life if we are prepared to use them.
Once the Vaccines are available the NHS will be trying to roll them out at record-breaking speed. It is therefore important we deal with any hesitancy or uncertainties we may feel ahead of this, and so we wanted to ask everyone to consider their own positions now. Given that the more of us who take a Vaccine the greater its protective effect will be to society as a whole, we obviously need to consider our decisions both for ourselves and in regard to the impact these will have on those we care about too.
We appreciate that people may have concerns, some of them fuelled by clearly mistaken antivax theories apparently perpetuated by foreign powers, and which give people pause for thought. However, it is also only human to be concerned about any new medicine, particularly where the data is still coming in. We thought we should therefore share our own thoughts on the matter.
The key considerations seem to be, will whichever Vaccine we take be Safe and will it be sufficiently Effective to return us to a more normal life. One where our Residents and Clients can see their Families as and when they want, without being fearful of either catching the disease or being a source of transmission, or continuing to suffer restrictions on our personal freedoms.
In regard to whether the Vaccines are Effective, two candidates announced so far, Pfizer/Biontech and Moderna, were found to have greater than 90% Success Rates across All Age Bands. The Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine has shown similar effectiveness in a side trial where a half dose was followed by a full dose, but which has yet to be confirmed in the over 55´s; trials are currently being conducted.
For all three Vaccines, in the less-than 10% of cases where they did not prevent the virus being caught, they did ensure the symptoms were only mild; i.e. no one required hospitalisation. Both the methods used to reach these numbers, and the extreme consequences to the companies making the vaccines of overstating their effectiveness, make us believe this information is reliable, although AstraZeneca’s release of data has not been helpful in this regard.
Whilst Vaccines are typically Less Effective when actually rolled out for logistical reasons, based on the information available to date, we do believe each will be Sufficiently Effective to offer meaningful protection to individuals, and to society as a whole if enough of us take them. However, further data is needed for the AstraZeneca Vaccine to demonstrate its efficacy for the over 55´s in the more effective dosing regime. Although, if and when this is forthcoming, it may become the preferred vaccine due to its ease of distribution; it can be stored at warmer temperatures.
In regard to whether they are Safe, whilst each has been developed at record speed, this has clearly been necessary in view of the impact that the Coronavirus has had on all our lives and future prosperity. The sooner we are able to render the threat of Covid-19 harmless, the sooner it will stop harming our economy. However, in regard to the speed that these Vaccines have been developed, we understand that this has been achieved through multi-tracking the testing stages rather than shortening or bypassing them. When the scientists developing them say there are no material side-effects, we therefore feel this claim is sincere and credible.
Based on the above, there seems little to lose from taking any of the above Vaccines, and potentially a great deal to gain given that the alternatives are:
- For our Residents and Clients to continue to only have restricted access to their loved ones;
- For our Economy to continue to be harmed, which we will all have to pay for;
- For each of us to continue to be fearful of either Getting or Transmitting the Disease to someone we care about;
- For us all to continue to have our Freedoms Curtailed by lockdowns and tier restrictions, and;
- Even if we feel confident that Covid-19 would not kill us personally, to risk suffering from Long Covid which appears to be a seriously-unpleasant and long-term illness that can impact people of any age.
We each have to make our own decisions but, as things stand, the two of us intend to take a Vaccine as soon as we are offered one, both for our own protection and because we feel it is the right thing to do for society as a whole.
Nick and Sarah
Visiting Before Christmas
We have no further news as to how this will be achieved, save that the government has announced that people visiting their loved-ones in Care Homes should not mix with other households over Christmas, which is otherwise to be allowed. We will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything more.
General Testing in both Homes is continuing as normal with all results being Negative. We have also had good news in that we are to be supplied with Home Testing Kits sufficient for all HomeCare Staff to be tested weekly.
Pods and Visiting
Unfortunately, our normal builder was continuing to have problems with getting the Pods finished, and so Richard Bentine, son of one of our Nettlestead Residents, has stepped in to finish the one there – thank you Richard. We have also appointed another builder to complete the one at Priors Mead, who commenced work today.
- We welcomed a new Resident, Lee, to our Nettlestead Family who will be with us for 10 days respite.
- Jane will be focusing on Hearts for Schools this week with our Residents. Please check out some of the designs our sister home Priors Mead did last week on facebook.
- Nettlestead is looking very Christmassy! Keep your eyes peeled on facebook for pictures to be uploaded this week.
- Chris has started to get creative with our Residents this week making Christmas Cards while listening to some of our favourite Christmas Music.
- Archie, our volunteer singer, has put together a Christmas CD and we are looking forward to having a sing and dance to this! We will make sure plenty of pictures are taken.
- Jane and Chris have been out collecting Pine Cones over the past week and continue to do so. If anyone comes across any please feel free to drop some off for our upcoming activities schedule over Christmas time. Sounds intriguing!
- Please keep phoning in for FaceTime slots, we still have some available this week.
- We are starting the week feeling very festive thanks to Kay who worked so hard over the weekend putting up all our decorations . She excelled herself this year with not one, but two beautiful trees.
- Handmade Christmas Wreaths are being made this week which will be displayed around the home to add to our christmas decor.
- With it being the start of Christmas Advent we will be doing christingle, finishing the evening lighting the candles in them with a glass of wine.
- On Thursday we are looking forward to Margaret performing a Live Harp Concert for us over Zoom.
- We have purchased a new Webcam which has been a great success! We first tried it out during Anthony Castleman’s zoom music session last week. The Residents were delighted that we could communicate and interact so much better – not only being able to not only talk, but see each other as well via the big TV screen in the lounge!
- Just a reminder that anyone wanting to participate with a food donation for the Food Bank if we can please have all donations by the 4th December, thank you.
- We have three new Clients starting this week and enquiries are busy with new enquiries.
- Sarah in the Reigate is due back out to work this week as her Shielding ends on 2nd December. She is looking to seeing everyone again.
- We are currently waiting for new testing kits for the HomeCare staff.
- We will be contacting everyone over the next couple of weeks to confirm what calls are required over the Christmas Alternatively you can email Becky with any changes to your normal visits.
Suggestions continue to be welcome. Please share them with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all for your continued support and understanding.
Nick & Sarah Bruce