19 March 2020


Corona virus (Covid-19) update for Stonebow House

After governmental announcements this week, a conference call meeting with the Flintshire Commissioning team (not a typo as our other home is in this Welsh county and their council has been incredibly pro active) and scientific opinion published we have the following:

  1. Stonebow House is now closed to all visitors for at least the next 4 weeks. As per government guidance, and the scientific projections of the positive effects of social distancing, we should be able to start seeing some form of normality return by beginning of May. We will keep you all updated but rest assure that your loved ones are being taken care of to the best of our ability.
  2. The Government have closed schools, to be repurposed for looking after the children of front line workers, with care workers part of that. I would like to emphasize the incredible sacrifice that all our care workers are doing at this point in time when they are as worried about their children, parents and families. 95% of our staff at both homes have not wavered once in their quest to come to work and to do their best for our beloved residents. Both Franco and I applaud them.
  3. Stonebow House has enough food, enough cleaning products and enough protective gear to get us through this difficult 4 weeks ahead. We have been extremely prepared. Shortages on the horizon are not a concern for us at the moment as our suppliers are all committed providing us with items and additional stock as it becomes available.


To give our carers the most time possible to work and to keep our phone lines open, we are asking relatives to contact me or Kirsty by email with your concerns. We promise to answer all in a reasonable time. Our email addresses:

Kirsty – stonebow@amber-group.co.uk

Annie – anne-lotte.venter@hotmail.com

Katie – sbhadmin@amber-group.co.uk

Seniors – sbhseniors@amber-group.co.uk



Yours in Stonebow and care

Anne-Lotte Ricotta

Director of Operations


Handy websites for information:









Previous Updates:

13 March 2020


As we are all very well aware of the current virus going around the world, we want to update and reassure our next of kin that we are constantly assessing the situation. This is in line with the daily advice from the NHS, World Health Organisation, Public Health England and Worcestershire County Council.


As per our previous circular on the Covid-19 situation we would like to update our staff and next of kin on the plan going forward as from today.


At the moment we know that the elderly are at the highest risk of dying from the Corona virus. From statistics from China, Iran and Italy 14% of the deaths reported were people 90 years and over, 42% were people in their 80’s. Men are dying more than women and those with high blood pressure are at a significant higher risk of being critically ill.


Although last year’s flu season was linked to 1700 deaths in England alone, scientists are of the opinion that this Corona virus is just in the beginning stages for the UK. The fatality rate for the common flu is 0.1 per cent, but for Corona virus it is 0.7 per cent.


It is for this reason that Stonebow House will enter a period of ‘cocooning’ our residents. Officials worldwide reckon that it is a proven method of keeping those with high risk or mortality safe till herd immunity has been achieved.


Herd immunity is when so many people in a population have already had a virus – and become immune to it as a result – that the illness stops spreading because there are not enough potential victims for it to infect and move through.


From today, Stonebow House will follow the following guidelines:

  1. only allow visits from relatives that have a first degree relationship, for instance children and spouses of our residents
  2. We will have access to residents via Whatsapp, Facetime or Skype calls for those who have to self isolate. We will release more information on how this will work as soon as we have a dedicated mobile phone in the home with the senior on duty
  3. visitors will have to abide by our infection control policies, for instance hand washing and keeping a safe distance from others in the home where ever possible
  4. Visitors will have their temperature taken when they enter the building. All staff will have the same procedure and our resident’s temperature will be taken with every medicine round.
  5. Please use our Relatives Gateway App to be kept up to date with care given and received. Katie is the perfect person to help you through the process if you are not on the system yet. Please email her on sbhadmin@amber-group.co.uk and she will reply to you with instructions to follow.


The next of kin and relatives meeting of the 17th of March is cancelled, and we will send a detailed report of the progress made in the home over the last year, changes in the service provided and the reasons why. All next of kin are more than welcome to send in questions and we will answer those as best as we can between us all.


Public Health England has issued the flowing guidance, and we want to emphasize the need for all linked to Stonebow House to adhere to the sound advice:

  1. Do not leave your house within 7 days from when your symptoms start, however mild
  2. Stay at least 2m away from people whenever possible
  3. Wash your hand regularly for 20s using soap and water
  4. Stay away from vulnerable adults such as the elderly


As we know from constant news reports, the spread of the virus can be contained quite considerably by good hygiene, in particular hand washing and the use of alcohol hand gel. At Stonebow, we advocate hand washing for 20s and alcohol hand gel is available for our residents and our home in the corridors. Every room has hand-wash facilities and paper towels in place. Please use this as often as possible during your visit.


The NHS and health officials are expecting the spread of the virus to peak over Easter, and last for about 9 weeks. During that time we have an action plan in place to cope with the expected illness of residents and absence of staff.


In the eventuality that the virus spreads in our county uncontrolled we will self isolate the home and only allow for emergency personnel and our own care staff to enter and visit.


We expect emergency rooms to be overflowing with cases and Stonebow will start moving residents around as to create sections of the home that could be considered a self isolation area. We will start with rooms 22-26 depending on the number of cases, and we will use the entrance at room 24-25 as a main entrance for doctors and nurses and care staff. The residents who contract Corona virus will be moved into this area and one room to be used as day space.


We are asking for next of kin to be very patient in this case as we are protecting those who have to move from contracting the virus. We promise to do this with the utmost care and consideration.


At the moment Stonebow has a staff compliment of 35, of which 11 are auxiliary staff. At the very worst we are expecting 60% of the care staff to be in self-isolation. Self-isolation is expected to last 14 days, so for a worse case scenario like that all care will have to be done by 10 healthy care and 4 auxiliary staff members. We will revert to basic care actions – personal care, continence care, medicine administration, feeding and food and basic housekeeping. We are hoping to maintain a residents to staff ratio of 5:1 and in the most critical case 6:1 during the day.


All our staff is trained in all the mandatory areas of care, and in such a worse case scenario all job descriptions will revert to the above basic care actions. So you might see a cleaner to do personal care, and a carer taking the washing out. It will be all about the tasks that need doing instead of who does certain tasks. As our food is prepared off campus, we do not require a cook position and all staff are trained in the correct procedure of heating and cooking the meals for our residents. All staff is trained in food hygiene and all residents have a Nutritional Risk assessment updated monthly.


At a certain point we will ask the manager and the administrator to work from home as per the guidance of the government. With our digital Person Centred Software this is possible, and all residents care plans can be updated remotely. The PCS dashboard is also updated constantly during the day and can be monitored constantly for the status and welfare of our residents.


We will update the above as per government instruction and our own action plan. The outcome we are aiming for is as many healthy residents and staff as possible, and keeping all safe.