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During the coronavirus pandemic, media reports concerning infection control in care homes led to an understandable loss of public confidence in the safety of elderly residential care.

The seed for S.A.F.E. began at Autumna when the advice line enquiries shifted from “Where’s the best care home near me?” to questions such as “Are there any safe care homes near me?” and “How can I find a safe care home for my elderly relative?”.

It became clear the public needed evidence of S.A.F.E. practices from care services. So, Autumna launched S.A.F.E. (Safety Assurance for Everyone).

We believed that if public confidence in the residential elderly care sector was to be restored, then care services would need to show that they are doing everything possible, going forwards, to take control of, and eradicate, any infection outbreaks.

What began with COVID expanded into a new perspective on infection control. The pandemic cooled but the understanding of infections and its lingering effects did not disappear entirely. Knowledge, methodology and technology all evolved rapidly so that not only was COVID kept under wraps but other forms of infection and outbreaks could now be combatted more easily.

This is not about whether somewhere is, or is not, COVID-free or has or has not had the coronavirus. It’s about being transparent and publishing details about the infection control practices in a place that will help people make informed choices when it comes to later life living.

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