Weekly Update Monday 11th January 2021

I am sure you are all getting used to (but not enjoying) our third lockdown by now. It appears that the country as a whole is not being quite so rule observant as before, which is a pity, especially with this new variant being so transmissible. The numbers vary around the country. In the area around Arden House, our nursing home near Watford, the cases are 942 per 100,000. At home, our numbers are 574, and for The Priory, the number is 250. The Priory number is well below average, but the number of new positive tests has grown by 50% in the last 7 days.

The vaccine cannot come quick enough. We do not have any specific dates as yet, but last week we were sent a detailed planning document to prepare for it. Details on staffing, the rooms/space required etc and the need for consent forms to be completed in all cases. We have these in place for all residents now, so thank you very much for your help. The documents required have changed slightly over the weeks, but hopefully we are there now. If there are any last minute changes, we will let you know. Fingers crossed, we may hear dates this week, especially as the target is to get all care home residents and staff vaccinated by the end of January.

As before, testing continues for all staff weekly and residents 4-weekly. The last round of tests all came back negative which is great. We are also interspersing the older, more reliable PCR tests (these are the ones which are sent away to a lab for processing) with the newer, more immediate (20 minutes) Lateral Flow test that staff can use on site. As I have mentioned before, these are not as accurate as the PCR tests. They may give false positives in a few cases, but these would be followed up with PCR tests anyway. However, the fears that they may also give significant false negatives (which is the worst outcome – testing negative when in fact you are positive) have been allayed somewhat. But using both tests regularly, we should hopefully keep on top of the virus.

Once again, many thanks to Lynne and the team for keeping us safe. Not just in the testing, but in their actions to keep clear of the illness and of course, if they have any concerns, isolating. And today, 11th Jan 2021, the whole home is being tested again. So Lynne has 45 pairs of nostrils and throats to stare up or down today. The joys and excitement of managing The Priory!

So what has The Priory been up to since the New Year?

Monday was a tidying and packing away day. Resident’s helped us to dismantle the trees and the decorations and to pack them away for later in the year!!! Hopefully there is a lot to happen between now and then for us all!

We then moved into a floral phase. Tuesday was flower arranging with the ladies. Some wonderful displays, with much needed colour against the backdrop of a rather bare, post-Christmas Priory. On Wednesday we used an idea from Phill at Creative Art – creating flower pictures with acrylic paints and forks! An incredibly creative and colourful idea. Imagine clouds of cornflowers of all colours in Spring.

Thursday was spent creating rainbow mobiles. We had done this earlier last year in support of the NHS, but they had become a bit tired, so new ones were needed. More colour to go with the flowers and a great reminder to “stay safe”.

We are planning a new display for the dining room – more details later – so Friday morning was a start to that. Measuring, cutting, colouring etc. Then in the afternoon, we got the little grey cells moving with some games of Scrabble. I am afraid this went slightly awry after a few games with the naughty words version……….

Zoe and Clare are currently chatting to the residents to build plans for the next tranche of theme weeks – they seemed to work so well last year and gave everybody a focus. If any families have any ideas, either from their lives or memories or those of the residents, please let us know.

And finally, Happy Birthday to Utsah today – who has opted to work on her special day. Thank you and many happy returns from us all.