Visiting Our Homes

August 2022

In line with government guidance we are now able to remove some of the visiting restrictions that have been in place during the COVID pandemic and continue on our journey towards “normal service” with friends, relatives and the community joining us again in the day to day lives of our Service Users. We thank you for your support and kind words during this most difficult of times.

The current government guidance for visits to care homes which do not have an outbreak of Covid-19 looks to support a more normal visiting environment, alongside the need to remain observant and reactive to the transmission of communicable disease. To enable us to safely manage the number of visitors in the home at any one time, we would prefer that visits are pre-booked by calling the home 24hrs before the planned visit with all visitors following our safe visiting protocols. We are of course happy to support visitors on a walk in basis again with all visitors following our safe visiting protocols.

Registered essential care givers (ECG) may continue to visit at any time.

It is preferred that visitors are fully vaccinated, unless they are medically exempt, and do not present with symptoms of COVID or any communicable disease on the day of their visit. Visitors will now only have to submit to their temperature being taken, this only being followed with an LFD test if indicated as required via screening.

Visiting out is supported via a risk assessment to reduce the risk of residents coming in contact with infected parties.

It is not recommended for unvaccinated residents to go out.

We can confirm that:

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    Internal visiting is permitted;
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    External visiting is permitted, (visits out);
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    Virtual visits are fully supported;
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    and garden, windows & POD visiting are facilitated as required.

As a responsible care home provider and employer, we have been keeping abreast of the latest guidance and promptly reacted in the best interests of our residents and staff. We have pre-empted guidance where we felt necessary and awaited further information on the impact of changes before adoption since the start of the pandemic in 2020. We will continue to move forward with this approach until COVID is removed as a risk to our residents and staff.

The latest guidance strongly encourages all those living and working in care homes to keep their vaccinations up to date.

The use of risk assessments and PPE will remain in place but the more significant change from the Government is that testing is now used to manage outbreaks, rather then prevent outbreaks.

Whilst Government guidance will no longer require visitors to test before visiting a home, we feel it is prudent to remain cautious and so will test visitors where screening identifies it as being necessary.

On the day of your visit, you will be asked to submit to a risk assessment and have your temperature taken. A lateral flow device (LFD) test may be required if your screening identifies a health risk with the LFD test being used to rule COVID out. You may test at home should you wish prior to any visit if you feel this is a responsible action to take. Please show the result on your arrival.

Named essential care givers may visit daily regardless of the outbreak status in the home and will follow the same testing regime as colleagues.

Unfortunately, if your test does return a positive result or if your health screen suggests you might have symptoms, we will be unable to proceed with your visit.

This will be the case for all visits inside the home, including exceptional visits during end-of-life care.

If your screening is successful, you will be supplied with PPE in the form of a disposable mask & gloves and will be escorted to see your loved one. Please do not remove your PPE for the duration of your visit or venture into other areas of the home – this will ensure we are efficient and effective with cleaning and infection control processes.

We recognise some people may find the PPE uncomfortable to wear and some residents, particularly those living with dementia, may find the masks confusing.

In the situation where wearing a face mask causes distress to your loved one, face masks may be removed when the visit is not in a communal area of the care home or if you are eating or drinking.

Also Covid-safe visiting PODs or garden visits may prove to be a better option as they do not require you to wear PPE.

Please continue to practice social distancing with other residents and our colleagues and wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

If you are unvaccinated and have been a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, please do not visit the care home for 5 days after that contact.

We also strongly recommend that all residents and their visitors are fully vaccinated, including all boosters, unless medically exempt. 

Virtual Visits

Virtual visits are fully supported for all parties. These can be conducted via Whatsapp, MS Teams or Zoom. Our preference is Whatsapp. Please call the care home for its Whatsapp number or virtual portal handle.

The home will then book in a “Virtual Visiting” slot for you so that a staff member can be assigned to support the visit.

Garden, Window & POD Visits

Garden, window and POD visits can be supported at the home. The form of visit is dependant the ability of all parties to support social distancing and PPE guidance. Visits must be booked in advance and will be limited to the pre-determined designated visitors “DV”. The DV’s will be required to undertake an assessment before each visit, submit all their contact information, to adhere to the visiting guidance issued on booking, submit to screening, the wearing of PPE and an rapid flow test (if required), undertake to inform the home should they contract COVID 19, present with an symptoms of COVID 19 or be requested to isolate by a government body and confirm their vaccination status.

Internal Visits

Internal visits in designated areas are supported at the home. The form of visit is dependant the ability of all parties to support social distancing and PPE guidance. Visitors will be required to undertake an assessment before each visit, submit all their contact information, to adhere to the visiting guidance, submit to screening, the wearing of PPE and an rapid flow test (if required), undertake to inform the home should they contract COVID 19, present with an symptoms of COVID 19 or be requested to isolate by a government body and confirm their vaccination status.

Please do not attend the home without having a pre-booked appointment, as a visit will not be facilitated.

This approach applies to:

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    All visitors who visit to provide any level of personal care to a resident.
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    Any visitors who spend over 30mins in areas where residents and staff live & work and are in non direct but frequent close proximity to those persons.

In all cases if you make the decision to visit then:

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    You must strictly adhere to the instructions of our staff team (all instructions are for the ultimate reason of protecting the vulnerable adults in our care, staff may also not have the time to explain the reasons behind each decision on an individual basis but will do so if possible)
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    You must strictly adhere to our hand washing / sanitation procedures when entering the home
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    You confirm you understand that visiting is by appointment only (so that the number of visiting parties to the building can be limited at any one time)
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    That you do not move around the building unaccompanied and use the nursecall system to seek assistance (please be tolerant and patient at these times)
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    When moving around the building (on entry and exit) you reduce the incidences of touching the building environment to an absolute minimum
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    You confirm you understand that visits can be cancelled up to the point of the appointment as they are dependant on numerous variables. We ask for your understanding at these times and please be assured that this action is taken to support the safety of the home.
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    You confirm that you will respect our hard working staff team and support us to support our Service Users and Staff team to remain as safe as possible.
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    You confirm you understand that we may not be able to support all requests, we apologies for this in advance and ask that you understand the limitations that this pandemic places on normal activity at the home.

We work within the following pandemic plan:

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    Our teams are following guidance around social distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene measures and the correct wearing of PPE. Almost all are double vaccinated and most have now also had their first booster.
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    We have maintained a high stock level of PPE, cleaning and decontamination items and continue to source from multiple suppliers to reduce the risk of any future shortages.
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    We are taking advantage of all available testing in line with the requirements set down by the Government and local health teams.
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    We have introduced protocols to support family visits that, when possible under Government guidance, are as safe and enjoyable as possible for all involved. We are continuing to invest in new technologies to maintain family connections.
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    We are not accepting Covid-positive admissions and prefer all new residents to have been fully vaccinated prior to admission. New admissions are usually no longer required to shield on arrival.
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    Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Leads provide additional scrutiny and support to colleagues in their understanding of, and compliance with, our approaches to IPC, cleanliness and hygiene.
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    We have invested in thermal recording equipment to provide fast & accurate temperature checks along with air purifiers and fogging machines to provide added layers of reassurance.
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    Should there be a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 in one of our homes, the home will follow an Outbreak Management Plan which includes additional safety and IPC protocols.
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    While visits from health professionals and people repairing critically important equipment are still going ahead, we have measures in place to limit the number of non-essential people coming into our homes. External entertainers and hairdressers are now able to visit homes not in outbreak providing they follow the same protocols as other professional visitors ie they should have a negative LFD test before entering the home, wear PPE as directed and undertake health screening.
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    Our housekeeping teams are receiving additional support to deliver enhanced cleaning regimes using high quality decontamination equipment and hygiene products.

Please contact the homes manager should you have any further specific questions or to book an appointment.

Thank you