Category Archives: SHC-blog

Residents at drive through care home visit

Coronavirus: Care home creates ‘drive-through’ visit

Coronavirus: Care home creates ‘drive-through’ visit
A care home in Devon has copied the concept of drive-through restaurants to reunite loved ones during the coronavirus crisis.



During lockdown regular visits haven’t been allowed at Sefton Hall in Dawlish.

But through careful planning – including use of PPE, time-slots and separate stations – families were, for one day, able to see residents from the safety of their cars after eight weeks apart.

Care home staff and visitors shared this footage with the BBC with the permission of residents and families.

Produced by Harriet Bradshaw

BBC Link here

front of the old rectory care home

Coronavirus, Dementia Care and people living with dementia in our care homes

Coronavirus, Dementia Care and people living with dementia in our care homes

Southern Healthcare

There has been some very disturbing material in the news and various media outlets recently and we understand the reasons why some in the media have suggested that the elderly and people like Alzheimer’s sufferers in the UK have been left vulnerable. Our views on this are somewhat more balanced and we would like to set out our own thoughts as to how we see things.  

  1. Coronavirus – It is true that Care Homes are not immune from Coronavirus, and we are having to deal with this under intense pressure. That said, we are quite used to trying to cope with other serious outbreaks in society – ‘flu of various types, things like Norovirus, colds and chest infections, as we all do, and which can affect us all.
  2. Impact – It is also true that our Residents are amongst the frailest and vulnerable, and everything around this generates heightened anxiety for everyone concerned. What we aim to do however is to minimise the impact of these ongoingly and support everyone to the best of our ability, no matter what.
  3. Care – We are all coping with a new invisible virus that is highly virulent, infectious and very serious. Care homes are not immune from this and are reporting cases of the virus. However, we are supporting people with symptoms, the manifestation of which can often be quite subtle with people who are already frail.   
  4. Staffing – Staff numbers are affected, but not unmanageable. Some people with certain conditions are isolated for 12 weeks, and some people are having to self-isolate periodically because of symptoms or themselves or of family members. Staff are covering each other and what is key, however, is that the overwhelming attitude in this sector is that people working in it, put others first, and want to be there for the people we care about.  This is our experience, despite all the anxiety.
  5. NHS – What we do is not as intense as our colleagues are managing in the NHS. We would also like to pay tribute to the front line NHS staff who are showing the same selfless commitment, but under the most extreme pressure, especially those who are caring for the most seriously affected, most highly contagious people continuously, and are still going flat out at very high risk to themselves.  This is incredibly humbling.
  6. Covid Reporting – We are not clear why community cases of Coronavirus are not being captured, and are told it is because Hospital figures are key indicators, and immediately available. They say systems must be put in place to record and measure the impact of the virus in care homes and the community, including the death figures. We agree, and understand this will soon be available.
  7. Visiting – The restrictions of social distancing includes social visiting to relatives in care homes to try and restrict the virus, except in exceptional cases. How well this is working case by case we cannot say, but it is of course causing distress to some family members and to some this can impact wellbeing. However, this is much less so if the setting is happy, engaging and loving which when present, has such as a hugely positive impact on the health and wellbeing of everyone, not just people with dementia, and that is every single day. That’s our main aim.
  8. Partnership working – Families, friends, as well as staff and residents, working together in a form of partnership spirit with each other, can still help to support people to thrive as well as maintain cognition, communication and engagement skills. That element hasn’t changed, quite the reverse and we have had to step up, be imaginative and use other outlets such as phones, facetime, Skype, Facebook etc., which has been amazing.  One activity we undertook had some 14,000 views. We have had lots of these conversations, Skype / Facebook / WhatsApp chats etc., but little difficulty.
  9. PPE – So far, we have managed to source the PPE we have needed. It is very difficult to get. However, certain key elements of the PPE we now have are re-useable. We believe the consumables are being re stocked by manufacturers as production ramps up.
  10. Covid tests – these are not generally available yet and that is generally unhelpful. However, we are all becoming increasingly aware of even the more subtle signs of the virus and have to act where appropriate as if people had the virus. When we have reported concerns, Public Health England have quickly arranged testing of the people with whom we have concerns. We are aware that new testing centres are now operating in Plymouth and a new centre in Exeter is soon becoming available, as is a Nightingale Hospital to be set up, somewhere in Exeter.
  11. Do Not ‘Resuscitate / Hospitalise’ status. These are advance decisions, primarily led by Residents choice with family input where necessary, and subject to GP recommendation. There are fears in the news that people living with dementia will be denied lifesaving hospital treatment if they get the virus and are pressured into signing these. This is not our experience, and we seek to ensure clinicians work individually and sensitively case by case with family involvement . A decision to hospitalise is a very serious one, and the likelihood of success is carefully analysed. Sometimes it is not the best option.  Few people want to be hospitalised generally unless there a very good reason, and hospitalisation itself can be quite a traumatic experience. Many people prefer to stay at home where they can be cared for in familiar surrounding with the people they know well. There are many instances of people recovering from viral infections in Homes with GP support and we have confidence and trust in the variety of GP’s who care for our Residents.
  12. Devon –  Devon and the South West does seem to have a lower prevalence of Covid than other locations. Devon also has one the highest number of “Outstanding” Care Homes of any County.  Similarly, all Devon hospitals are working within capacity. Let us hope this continues.
  13. Overall – We agree the current situation is very difficult and the system was already overstretched before this. As a Provider, we took formal action with three others on funding and decision making 9 years ago. There are still serious questions to be asked about our preparedness as a system, and our Societys’ attitude to Healthcare and elderly care generally. The time to debate this will come. But overwhelmingly right now, the clinicians and healthcare practitioners in Health and Social care are rising selflessly to the challenge and we are very fortunate in having that.   

Means of contacting the Homes and Residents:

The Old Rectory Exeter

Our resident phone is an iPhone so people can Facetime and also video chat /video Whatsapp. 07747864152

Visit The Old Rectory Facebook page 

Parkwood House

Parkwood is taking Residents calls on a portable phone though the landline, and using skype on a tablet.

Visit the Parkwood House Facebook page

Sefton Hall

Sefton Hall has several phone numbers for the residents.  These phones are in the different areas/floors of the home and the relevant number will be given to each relative on request.  We will suggest suitable times to avoid peak times and is working really well. 

There is also Skype and the Skype address has also been given to those relatives who wish to use it.  The times are booked in with the Activity Co-ordinators.

Visit the Sefton Hall Facebook page 

The Seaton

The resident’s phone has been set up with a process in liaison with all relatives, extended family and friends and it’s working very well. As the phone is carried by senior staff we would not want to change the process now so would not want to put the phone number on the website for all and sundry, however, if anyone wishes they can still enquire on the home line and I can email more details to them if needed.

Visit The Seaton Facebook page 

Geoffrey Cox
MD Southern Healthcare
9th April 2020

Sefton Hall Outdoor Village

Sefton Hall Outdoor Village


On a glorious, sunny afternoon, Friday 22nd June 2018, the Staff, Residents & Relatives of Sefton Hall were joined by the Mayor of Dawlish to open the ‘Sefton Hall Outdoor Village’. The Village comprises a vintage café, sweet shop, garden centre, church and a bar for the Home’s Residents and their relatives. The event was celebrated with ‘the Liberty Sisters’ who sang a collection of famous songs from the ‘40’s & ‘50’s.

 The Mayor, Lisa Mayne, formally opened the Village and spoke of her admiration for the Village and for the Home. Gabriella, the Home Manager expressed her delight at seeing the Village come to fruition, gave special thanks to Leigh (a very Handyman) and the team for all their hard work  and supporting the project enthusiastically with fundraising events.

Gabriela said “The village provides opportunities for people to socialise and reminisce, encourages the people living in Sefton to spend time outside with their loved ones and brings normality in their lives”

 Sefton Hall is a beautiful Georgian Home rated ‘Outstanding’ by CQC and winners of many prestigious awards, including the ‘Best Care Team of the UK’ (Caring UK National Care Awards) and the ‘Best Dementia Initiative” (Devon and Cornwall Care Awards). 

 Geoffrey Cox, the M.D. spoke of his appreciation and pride in seeing the Village opened, especially seeing the strong partnership building between the team and the community in coming together to support the project and the team looking for ways to innovate and find new ideas to enhance people’s quality of life, living at Sefton Hall.  

 Mike Harvey, whose wife Elaine, is a resident also offered some heartfelt thanks, and acknowledged his gratitude to the Home generally, its staff specifically, the wonderful friendly atmosphere that he experienced daily at the Home and his appreciation at the range of developments, facilities and ideas at the Home to enhance the experience of people living at, working in and visiting Sefton Hall.

Mike said “I visit my wife who is suffering with dementia almost every day and I can see the continuous development of Sefton Hall made possible by excellent management and a devoted and committed staff. Mike is calling Sefton Hall his home.”

 The Village is built in a ‘suntrap’ courtyard adjacent to the extensive rear gardens of the home and is designed to provide an interesting and stimulating place to see, visit and enjoy as well as to host a range of activities of all varieties, from simple social gatherings to musical and other events; barbeques, seasonal shows & a Xmas bazaar.

 The Village has been funded with the help of generous donations from relatives, friends and the community at large and was completed very quickly as a result. The Village is the latest addition to the facilities at the Home which include an old English pub inside, a Café and an ice creamery in the beautiful front gardens.

animal visits care home resident with lizard

Animal Visits

Meaningful Activities: Animal Visits



This week the 3rd of February 2020 Axe Valley Wildlife Park came in to visit our residents at our home in Seaton from a local park near Axminster in Devon. 

We invited along our toddler group to come and they all enjoyed meeting and learning about the animals together alongside our residents.

Everyone joined in and held the animals some overcoming a lifelong fear of certain ones!

We love to incorporate animals into our homes as this can have such a positive effect on some residents. We really do see a whole new side to them especially the ones that come from a farming background.