London care home pioneers investment in 15-minute COVID-19 tests to provide reassurance

Signature Senior Lifestyle, the award-winning operator of care homes across London and the Home Counties, is understood to be the first UK operator to invest in 15-minute COVID-19 antigen tests to provide further reassurance, allowing its communities to retain a sense of normality with its residents able to stay connected with their loved ones via carefully managed visits.

Signature is initially trialling the tests for relatives of those at its Wandsworth Common care home, which to date has had zero resident cases of COVID-19. It is offering visiting relatives the opportunity to conduct the tests in the comfort of their cars outside prior to entering the home via a separate entrance, providing total peace of mind and allowing socially distanced visits with PPE to take place without obstructive and cumbersome plastic dividing screens.

Kay Cox, COO of Signature Senior Lifestyle, comments: “Our regular testing has worked well so far but we are continually looking for ways to go one step further. The health and safety of our residents, families and staff remains our number one priority, so we have made the decision to invest in 15-minute tests to further bolster our capabilities, providing almost immediate reassurance. This is a challenging time for all and we truly understand how much visits mean to residents and their loved ones, so we are doing everything in our power to allow these to take place with dignity and a sense of normality.”

Additionally, Signature has commenced carrying out these 15-minute antigen tests on their visiting external entertainers to ensure that its busy activity and wellbeing programmes can continue within the allowed Public Health England guidelines.

Signature’s investment in PPE will see it through until Spring 2021, with its health and safety protocols and ongoing testing regime proving robust, with staff being tested weekly and residents every two weeks. Each home is acting individually in accordance with PHE guidelines, while additionally all homes are fully equipped with technology including Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Facebook Portals to help keep people connected.

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