A message from the CEO, Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, Royal Navy

When I last updated you on circumstances here at Belvedere House, it was the end of May and the pandemic was still very much with us all and the nation locked down. Since then you will have seen, as I have, the gradual and cautious relaxing of some measures, although the key ones including handwashing and social distancing remain. I am pleased to say that we have been virus free here for 3 weeks now, both staff and residents, and comprehensive virus testing has been taking place recently. Although the national recovery is fragile and still in its early days, and our guard must not slip, as soon as we receive antibody tests we will be testing all staff and residents to establish a baseline, and we will let you know the result as it affects your family member resident with us.

For a little while now we have been arranging short visits, on application, for residents to be visited in the open, fresh air just outside the front door, and this has allowed some contact for you which I realise is much needed. I can tell you today that we are seeking to widen this and to bring the gatherings indoors for comfort and convenience, and that planning and risk assessing is currently being actively conducted accordingly with a view to a possible commencement as early as the first week in July. Again, as soon as we have confirmed that this can be conducted safely and reasonably, probably in a few small groups well-spaced out in the main lounge, we will inform you.

Additionally, in my last update, I mentioned that we are seriously looking at modernising the first floor nursing rooms, or at least some of them, whilst occupancy is low due to our being closed to  new admissions since early in the pandemic. Planning is going well for this but the Board of Trustees , acting on my advice to get the best solution for all, is yet to finally select and approve an option from the various that are possible; so I do not see any work starting until at least 1 August (rather than 1 July as I had earlier written). Since this will not affect the ground floor, we will be opening that unit up to new admissions as soon as the rooms are fully deep cleaned and ready which should be in the next week or so. Once again, as soon as the upstairs modernisation plans are confirmed, a more detailed briefing with drawings/diagrams will be made available to you, outlining any effect, if any, this will have on residents currently in rooms there.

Finally, I sincerely thank you for your patience and forbearance during this most difficult of times, which of course are not yet over. We are very conscious of the emotional turbulence caused to families since early March, but our focus has been solely on getting people through as best as possible which I know has been well understood by you and fully supported. In this I must say that I am incredibly proud of the Staff here, who have worked exceedingly hard with many going far beyond their usual hours and duties. Continually, they have been putting themselves and their families at risk by continuing to come to work and provide an unbroken, professional, caring and compassionate service to the most important people of all – our residents and tenants.

Should you wish more information at any time, our staff will be pleased to answer any questions or concerns that you may have, so please do telephone.

With best wishes

Brian B-H

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