A new pop-up care home has now opened its doors to some of Somerset’s most elderly and frail residents as part of the fight against Coronavirus.
The former Yeovil care home, Hendford Court (previously Acacia House) is ready to take residents once again after round-the-clock efforts by Somerset County Council and Somerset Care to get it back into full working order were completed in a matter of weeks – rather than the usual 18 months it takes to set up a care home.
Hendford Court has been set up as a safe haven for people who have tested positive for coronavirus or are displaying symptoms, who cannot yet return to their care home or own home. Residents will be those who are considered well enough to leave hospital, but with continuing care needs
Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Care at Somerset County Council, said: “Hendford Court will provide a safe and reassuring place for those who can’t yet return home and need somewhere to self-isolate with appropriate care provided from a team of fully trained staff and volunteers.
“Thank you to everyone who stepped forward after our appeal to help support. At present our acute and community hospitals are coping well during the pandemic, but we must be prepared to provide care if, and when, it is needed. I would like to thank everyone involved who has worked with such commitment to make sure we are well prepared.”
Andrew Needham, Operations Director at Somerset Care said, ‘We are incredibly proud to be being involved in providing this resource for the people of Somerset. The team at Somerset Care has worked hard to get the home ready and I am very grateful to all who have helped.’
The scale and speed of the project was considerable – for example a fit-out, normally taking four to six weeks, was achieved in two days. The to-do list included:
• Checking all certification from fire safety to lifts
• Obtaining specialised equipment such as hoists
• Sourcing crockery, cutlery and furniture
• Setting up food and medication supplies, and waste collection
• Establishing Wifi connections and building access
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Somerset County Council issued an appeal for carers – and the response has been inspirational with 184 external applications.
Hendford Court’s 65 staff are in place, including the County Council’s Vice Chair, Councillor Mark Keating. He has retrained for the role and is tweeting about his experiences – @CllrMarkKeating.
And thanks to Yeovil’s B&Q store, the staff will have open-air seating where they can take a break. Store manager Steve Pestel has generously donated four picnic seat and bench sets so staff can enjoy some outdoor respite during their shifts.
The Somerset Coronavirus Support Helpline 0300 790 6275, staffed by the county and district councils’ contact centres, is open from 8am-6pm seven days a week. It provides a single contact number for those wanting to access any advice they may need, including emotional support, in the current crisis.
Somerset County Council’s website https://www.somerset.gov.uk/coronavirus/ also has useful tips and guidance – as well as further information about how Council services are currently affected. The page also offers the chance for people to sign up via email to receive a daily update on Somerset’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak – including further emotional health and wellbeing tips.