The Whiteley Homes Trust charity released figures today showing Whiteley Village in Walton-on-Thames, a community for older people in need, is one of the safest places to live in Surrey – and especially for those living in its care homes, where there have been only two Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, both of whom recovered.
Although there have been persistently high infection rates in Surrey and weekly COVID-related care home deaths in England and Wales recently topped 1,000 for the first time since May, incredibly there have been just ten other cases in Whiteley’s community of c.400 older people. Five of these contracted the virus in hospital and two sadly died there.
Ingram House, the Village’s residential care home, has had no cases of Covid-19 at all, and of the two cases in the Eliza Palmer Hub – the community’s nursing home, both residents were nursed back to health by the Trust’s award-winning care team.
With such a significant number of very vulnerable people living together on the estate, over half of whom are aged over 80, including nine centenarians up to the age of 107, Whiteley’s record on infection control is extraordinary.
The Trust which manages the Village, was praised by the Care Quality Commission following both its inspections during the pandemic, and managers were asked to share their learning and approach with other providers on best practice for keeping residents and staff safe.
Director of Care and Community, Kevin Humphrys said, “Our Covid-19 rates have been a fraction of what they have been in the wider community and for that we are both pleased and relieved. We are far from the end of this pandemic so we cannot be complacent, but I believe our success to date has been primarily due to our early adoption of strict infection control measures.
“PPE and compulsory temperature checks were introduced for all staff and anyone entering our care facilities before the first lockdown in early March, followed by regular staff testing as soon as this was available to us. Currently we test all staff who work the majority of their time on site at least twice a week. This coupled with the dedication of our excellent care and nursing team and the commitment of our staff, volunteers, residents and their families, has helped make Whiteley an especially secure place to live.
“We decided to release our safety figures because we know many families with older relatives are understandably nervous about moving their loves ones into care right now. As a result, some older people are living in accommodation that may be unsuitable, causing undue worry and stress to them and their families at such a difficult time anyway.
“We want them to know our charity is here for them, and able to provide a safe and secure home to support their needs here in our beautiful Village, whether they are funded privately or by the council.”
Whiteley Village is managed by the Whiteley Homes Trust charity and was founded by the entrepreneur William Whiteley at the turn of the century to accommodate poor older people in need. In addition to the Village’s two care homes, where there is a mix of private and local authority funded places, the Trust also offers means-tested independent living accommodation for couples and single people in its extra-care centre Huntley House, and in its almshouse cottages.