Updated 13th May 2020

We are closely monitoring the latest advice and guidance relating to the global spread of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. We have robust procedures in place and the health and wellbeing of the people we support and our staff remains our highest priority.

We are working together with our services to keep abreast of rapidly evolving Government advice to minimise risks and ensure we are well-prepared for the challenges COVID-19 presents for us as a social care provider. We have adapted our practices in line with Public Health’s official guidance, and will continue to be guided by the valuable information about the virus being provided by Government and public health bodies.

Lifeways has the skills and culture to respond to these challenges. We have business continuity plans in place for every service that will support the uninterrupted delivery of care and support. We are working together with our partners on ways in which we can support one another to adapt to changing needs and priorities to help staff who continue to provide support across the country.

We have reviewed our measures following Government advice effective 13thMay 2020 (England only) and will continue to update these as new guidance is issued.  We are therefore supporting people to follow the stay alert advice (England) or Stay Home (Scotland and Wales) to the best of our ability whilst still enabling them to achieve the best possible outcomes. This change will impact upon the activities and routines that the people we support undertake; it will also mean restricting all non-essential visitors to our services. Where such action is necessary in respect of specific services we will communicate locally with health and social care key contacts and ensure families are kept fully updated.

We are trying as much as possible to continue the referral process during the coming weeks and are still carrying out assessments, remotely whenever possible, and placements. We hope that this will help to ease the pressure on the NHS and wider health and social care system.If you have any queries please contact the Enquiry, Referral and Assessment Manager that you usually deal with.

Our teams are working hard to make these difficult circumstances as manageable as possible with activities taking place within our group services supporting the well-being and mental health of the people we support.

Visits to our services

We are wholly committed to ensuring that we keep all the people we support, our colleagues and visitors as safe as possible.

In light of the Government advice we will only be allowing essential visits to our services, this includes health visits/checks and safety critical visits. All other visitors will not be permitted to visit - this is in line with the Governments advice and will ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people we support.

If your visit is deemed as essential, please be prepared for enhanced infection control procedures, these may include:

  • Handwashing on arrival, regularly during your visit, and before you leave

  • Supplying information about recent travel history and whether you have had any symptoms or exposure to anybody with symptoms – if so you may be refused entry.

You should also try to come prepared with tissues, to catch, bin and kill any germs from sneezes/coughs during your visit.

Families & Carers

We know this is a particularly difficult time for families and carers. If you have particular concerns about the measures we are taking to support your relative or loved one, please do not hesitate to contact their service directly.  The team will do their best to keep you updated and informed.

We realise that the Government request for self-isolation or social-distancing does restrict everyone’s access to community activities and for some of the people we support it will be very difficult to understand why these changes have been made.

To this end we are doing everything possible to support routines for individuals in order to alleviate the stress of the current situation and are providing guidance to all colleagues on a range of activities that they can undertake in the service to keep people occupied, entertained and positive during this time.

Where a person needs to leave the home for medical reasons then they can do so. This could, for example, include individuals with learning disabilities or autism who require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day, in line with their care plan. Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection, travel outside of the home (In Scotland and Wales) will be limited and kept as close to the local area as possible. In England people can now drive further afield to access outdoor spaces this includes beaches and parks. All safety procedures regarding social distancing will be maintained.

We also recognise that family members will still not be able to visit their relatives in indoor spaces. We will continue to utilise other methods of communication via phone calls, emails, FaceTime etc. to ensure contact is maintained as much as possible.

In England only as of 13thMay 2020 people are able to meet up with one other person, from outside their household in outdoor public spaces i.e. for a picnic as long as social distancing measures are observed. Lifeways are looking at how we can support these meetings particularly where people may find it difficult to maintain social distancing. If families or carers would like to arrange to meet a person we support in an outdoor space away from the service, they should contact the relevant service manager.

Our dedicated teams are demonstrating great resilience and determination to continue to deliver support. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fantastic front line colleagues; they are going above and beyond to make sure people are reassured and safe during this unprecedented time.

Please click this link to read our latest COVID-19 FAQs