A Birmingham care home has shared how it has managed to remain COVID-free throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Alison Mulligan, registered home manager at Harborne Lane Specialist Care Centre, said early, pre-emptive action had been key to the service’s success.
Having previously worked for an Acute NHS Trust as an Infection Control Nurse, Alison recognised the potential scale of the danger posed by COVID-19.
“I decided that if there is a virus and it’s coming for us then we need to contain it, so I just closed the home down really early,” Alison told ITN News. “I think the staff thought I’d gone insane because we closed our home down in the middle of February.”
With many staff finding the reality of the situation hard to accept and anxiety levels rising, Alison moved into the home to help calm the situation.
Alison and her team worked together to successfully shield the home’s residents despite having little initial information about the nature of the threat they faced with official guidance taking some time to emerge.
“Stringent measures were put in place and the team took each day one step at a time,” Alison said.
“Guidance from authorities was conflicting and constantly changed. Action plans and risk assessments replaced version upon version. Leading a team of staff into the unknown was difficult and decision making became a huge responsibility.”
Alison praised the total dedication and personal sacrifices made by her team who “worked without objection, using systems which were literally being changed on a daily basis”.
Staff went the extra mile by forfeiting annual leave and moving into the home along with Alison to help foster a new level of camaraderie.
The home manager noted that the purpose-built design of the service played a major role in reducing the risk of infection with the team able to section off parts for quarantine purposes.
Alison also noted the importance of adequate safety resources with the home having PPE usage audited each day.