Life at Valerie Manor During COVID-19

Firstly, I hope all our friends and neighbours in the local community are keeping safe and well. It has been wonderful to see how everyone has pulled together during this time and I am so proud to be part of the local Community.

Life at Valerie Manor has been somewhat of a challenge, but I am pleased to say that throughout we have remained COVID free which is down to the award-winning team that we have.

I would like to take you on a journey to show that some care homes are ones to be proud of and do everything in their power to keep not only the residents safe but the staff and their families too.

From working as a teenager in a nursing home to qualifying as a nurse in 1996 and working my way up through the NHS as a staff nurse, ward sister, matron then General Manager to living my dream and purchasing Valerie Manor in 2008 I have never seen such challenging times for so many, especially in health and social care.

At the beginning of March, we started our COVID action plan when many care homes were still carrying on as normal. We embraced residents, relatives and staff on our journey in the decision making process as very often we didn’t have the answers due to this being such an unprecedented situation however every decision made was considered, reduced the risk as much as possible and I believe has played a huge part in keeping everyone safe.

We have tried to be one step ahead and plan for the ‘worst case’ scenario to be prepared for what may come. We started to purchase PPE prior to it becoming mandatory and overrecruited in case we had staff who became unwell or were unable to care for our residents due to their own health.

In doing this we also helped some local companies and individuals to provide them with employment. This is my Theatre and Sussex Yacht Club – without these two local companies we may have been in a very different position, the staff became our friends and were much loved by the residents and everyone within the Valerie Manor family. Two staff from SYC have chosen to remain as permanent staff with us and Simon and Ethan have already returned to perform for our residents.

Every step we have actioned recommendations both Nationally and Locally and been some of the first homes to have whole home testing and for some time now weekly testing of all staff and monthly testing of all residents.

Staff have been going at 100% throughout in difficult circumstances but have supported each other as well as the residents. We have regular Zoom meetings with staff and relatives to keep in touch and everyone is involved in writing our policies to make them suitable for everyone in our care.

We now have a ‘wellbeing coordinator’ and a very different way or working which has required us to utilise the individual skills that our staff have.

I must say a special mention to Debs and Lucy who became the Registered Manager and Deputy in January this year…………..I could not have asked for better managers to lead the team.

Imagine taken prior to COVID-19 restrictions.
Debs & Lucy undertaking the testing process.

There is so much to say and celebrate, we have had our work shared by the CQC, Care England and WSCC for our innovation – I won’t say we haven’t had challenges, tears and exhaustion but we have provided support to everyone both physically, emotionally and financially throughout through counselling and access to a staff BUPA Healthline through our Company.

I believe the team have shown and proved why they are ‘Outstanding’ and why they win so many awards.

I want to say a special thank you to all the staff at Valerie Manor and indeed all those working in Social Care who have worked tirelessly to keep everyone safe.

Also, a thank you to our wonderful GP’s at Steyning Medical Practice, Mike, Lindsay and the team at Upper Beeding Pharmacy and the local community for their continued support to us here at Valerie Manor.

Below is some feedback that was sent directly to the CQC from a relative:

Wishing you all remain safe and healthy

‘Valerie Manor is an exceptionally well-run care home. During the pandemic, its staff and management have operated with a high level of professionalism and care for the residents. Great care has been taken to meet the residents’ psychological needs in this crisis, as well as taking every possible step to protect them from infection. This has been a great reassurance in a time of national crisis. Zoe Fry has been nothing short of remarkable in this situation. She has been diligent in keeping relatives up to date with their relative’s welfare and the ever changing PHE guidance. We are very grateful to everyone there.’