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Sanctuary Supported Living – Coronavirus Update

16 March 2020

Stay alert. Control the virus. Save lives.

Last updated: 01/06/20 15:30hrs

We are closely monitoring government guidance around coronavirus (COVID-19) and our response as a landlord, care and support provider, and employer.

Following the Prime Minister’s latest announcement, we will be reviewing our services in accordance to the latest government guidelines and will continue to keep this web page updated with changes to our services. Please be assured that the health and safety of residents, their families and our staff remains our priority and we will not make any changes to our current position unless a full risk assessment has been carried out.

Residents and their friends/family should continue to follow the latest Government and Public Health England guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19).

Official Government guidance for landlords and tenants can be found in the Ministry of Housing, communities and Local Government document.

Residents should continue to follow the latest Government and Public Health England guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19). Visit www.gov.uk.

If you live in a Sanctuary Supported Living service and have been advised to self-isolate, please let a member of staff know.

If you have been advised to self-isolate and you have an appointment booked with our repairs team, please speak to a member of staff to rearrange the appointment. If a member of staff is not immediately available, call our Customer Service team: 0330 123 3247.

At our Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered services, residents may now arrange to meet visitors in the communal gardens, providing that they have been booked using the new visitor booking system and that 2m social distancing is maintained at all times.

Our booking system ensures that visitor numbers are limited to a safe level, so that 2m social distancing can be adhered to. Where possible, we ask that residents have a maximum of two visitors at a time, but the Local Service Manager will assess if the space will allow for additional visitors to accommodate larger families, this will need to be discussed at the time of booking.

We also request that residents avoid meeting people from multiple different households in a short space of time, as this increases the risk of coronavirus transmission.

At our non-CQC registered services (housing-related support services), residents may now arrange to meet visitors in the communal gardens, where available. There is no booking system in place, but we ask for support and understanding from residents to limit visitors as far as possible. We strongly advise that residents meet visitors in public locations such as parks instead, where it will be easier to maintain 2m social distancing.

Access to the communal toilets will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and by request to the Local Service Manager, so that our staff are able to clean the facilities after use. Residents should make sure their visitors are aware of this, especially those who may be travelling long distances or with young children, to avoid issues on the day.

In accordance with current Government guidance, people from different households should not be meeting in indoor spaces. This includes residents’ bedrooms or apartments, or any communal rooms. We therefore ask residents and their family and friends to only meet indoors for essential reasons (such as delivering food or medicine) and for as short a time as possible. This will help to reduce the risk of transmission for all our residents and staff.

The safety and wellbeing of residents and our staff is our highest priority, so we reserve the right to refuse access to visitors at our services if visitors levels become unsafe or 2m social distancing is not maintained. This will be at the discretion of scheme managers.

Residents who have been advised to shield should carry on doing so and they will continue to be supported by staff as needed.

In response to Government guidelines following the COVID-19 outbreak, we have reviewed our services to customers and have had to make some difficult decisions. We want to continue to offer safe and effective services, but we also want to protect our residents and our staff by minimising non-essential contact and travel.

We have streamlined our schedules for care and support. This means that some key working sessions may not take place as regularly and the number and length of time spent on care visits will be reduced to accommodate everyone’s essential needs without compromising anyone’s health or wellbeing. This has been done according to our risk assessments, business continuity plans and guidelines received from the authorities.  

We will of course, continue to monitor the situation and review accordingly.

From 1 June 2020 we will begin to contact customers whose routine repair was postponed during the government lockdown in March, April and May.

We have a significant backlog of routine repairs to work through. And because of current challenges with accessing materials and adopting enhanced working methods to ensure your and our staff’s safety, we are still asking residents to only report new emergency repairs for the time being. We hope to be able to resume bookings for new routine repairs in due course and will update you as soon as we can.

We will be regularly reviewing our approach to routine repairs in line with the latest government guidelines.

Emergency repairs

We are continually monitoring Government guidance around repairs and will keep this page updated if and when that advice changes.

For the moment, we would appreciate it if you only contact us should your repair be an emergency.

If you have an emergency repair in your home, please contact a member of your local team immediately or call our Customer Service Centre on  0800 131 3348 (0300 123 3511 from a mobile).

An emergency repair is:

  • No heating and/or hot water - Total loss of both heating and hot water with either no electric shower, or a vulnerable resident.
  • Uncontainable leak.
  • Dangerous electrical fault.
  • Disturbed asbestos.
  • Essential adaptations failures.
  • Replacement of gas cylinders (to avoid the loss of heating and hot water).
  • Property insecurity.

If you contact our Customer Service Centre about an emergency repair we will ask you some questions about your current situation and whether you are self-isolating or have an underlying health issue so that we can understand how best to protect you and your family, as well as the member of staff that attends your home.

Non-emergency repairs

If you have a repair but it is not an emergency, then we are asking you to report this repair at a later date when normal services resume. We hope to resume normal service as quickly as possible when it is safe to do so.

If we have not listed the repair in the above ‘emergency repairs’ then we would not currently class it as an emergency. Please remember we are trying to support social distancing and protect the health and safety of residents and our staff as much as we can during these unprecedented times.

We believe this is the best way to focus on supporting homes that have the most serious repairs.

By law, we must carry out an annual service and safety check of all Sanctuary gas appliances in your home, this includes boilers, cookers and fires. Gas safety checks are continuing as normal.

Our registered Gas Safe engineers may need access into your home for these checks, which take no longer than an hour. You do not need to have direct contact with anyone visiting your property to complete these checks.

Please follow sensible precautions to keep yourself safe when our staff are visiting your property, as outlined in public health guidance found here www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

If you are due your annual gas safety check and are self-isolating or are a shielded vulnerable patient, please let us know so we can understand how best to protect you and your family by emailing contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

We are restricting staff visiting residents in their homes other than for non-emergencies or essential care. We will make sure we are in contact with residents by phone. We are focused on ensuring that everyone we support, or who works for us, stays safe.

If you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or are worried about how the virus might affect you, please contact our Customer Services Centre by calling  0800 917 0092 (0300 123 3599 from a mobile).

To keep everybody safe, we have put in place the following measures:

  • All communal lounges, kitchens, libraries and common rooms are now closed to external visitors and residents.
  • All coffee mornings, communal lunches and community activities are suspended.
  • No further guest room bookings will be accepted and any bookings from Monday 23 March will be cancelled.
  • If there is a communal laundry at your service, you will be asked to only use this at allocated times to limit the number of residents coming into contact with each other at any one time.
  • Non-essential visits to our services should not take place.

We will continue to carry out the regular checks of our buildings to ensure safety and compliance and we will make regular contact with you via the warden call system or telephone.

However, we will not be visiting you in your homes or carrying out face to face contact to limit the spread of the virus. We will continue keep the communal areas as clean and hygienic as possible.

We believe that no one should be concerned about the threat of eviction during this difficult time and, we are committed to working with our customers to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account customers' individual circumstances.

We recognise that we need to be flexible in response to unexpected events and will make reasonable adjustments based on individual circumstances.

While we will continue to collect rent and service charges as we normally do, it is vitally important that you let us know as soon as possible if you are having difficulty paying or are worried about meeting future payments. We want to work with you, so please email CIT.Income@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you are unable to attend your benefit appointments, please let the Department for Work and Pensions know as soon as possible by reporting it on your online Universal Credit account.

Should you find yourself with no income due to the impact of coronavirus, if you do not already claim benefits, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit to help you pay your rent and service charges. You can find out more about Universal Credit and eligibility on the Money Advice Service website.

There is also further information for people affected by COVID-19, including information about eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay on the Government website.

New emergency measures with the energy industry have been agreed by the government to protect the domestic energy supply of those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19.

From Thursday 19 March 2020 customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied. This could include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.

More broadly, any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.

We are in unprecedented times where we are spending extended time together in our homes. The knock-on effect of this may mean that you are more aware of noise levels from your neighbours, which may include general household noise and children playing. 

Please try to be tolerant of the noise levels you might experience during this time, and please consider the impact your household noise levels and behaviour may have on your neighbours.

If you are experiencing repeated issues of antisocial behaviour you can report it to us by emailing contactus@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you are threatened with violence or are concerned for the safety of yourself or others, please call the police immediately on 999.

We will continue to manage existing antisocial behaviour cases, through your preferred method of communication, providing regular updates, signposting you to helpful support networks and discussing further action where appropriate.

The current isolation measures that have been put in place by the Government are likely to mean that you will be spending a lot of time at home and this may mean a pressured situation could get worse.

If you are in immediate danger, please call 999 and ask for the police.

If you are not in immediate danger but would like to talk to someone about something you or someone you know is experiencing, please contact one of these organisations.

If you live in Torbay or Plymouth, Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services (PDAS) has a 24 hour phone line and can be contacted on 0800 458 2558 and Torbay Domestic Abuse Service (TDAS) can be contacted on 0800 916 1474.

It’s understandable that not only our residents, but communities everywhere will be worried about how their lives are going to be affected over the coming months.

The Government has provided guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and how we can all work together to protect older people and vulnerable adults. This includes steps you can take to stay connected with family and friends during this time:

  • Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.
  • Remember it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too.

The Mental Health Foundation has useful information on how to look after your mental health during the virus outbreak and it can be found on their dedicated website page.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try talking to your family and friends and sharing how you feel. If you are worried that you may need more help, the following support is available:

Free 24-hour listening support

Samaritans is available to listen at any time of the day or night. You can talk to them about anything that's troubling you, no matter how difficult.

Call free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

Shout offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance.

Text "SHOUT" to 85258 or visit Shout Crisis Text Line

 

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Sanctuary Supported Living is a trading name used within Sanctuary Group. © 2020 Sanctuary Group. All Rights Reserved. Images used on our website and literature may be representative and are for illustration purposes only.
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