Our response to Covid-19 - ensuring safe care, admissions and care home visits.

FAQs

View answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19

My family member is a resident in one of your care homes - can I visit them?

Each resident is now able to nominate named visitors, and an essential care giver, who can have 'contact visits’. In a contact visit, visitors and resident sit together and can hold hands but personal protective equipment (PPE) of masks, aprons and gloves will still be required to be worn (and visors subject to an assessment by the home).

There is no official limit on the number of named visitors that a single resident can meet with in a day, however the number of visitors at any one time is subject to individual risk assessment carried out by the home. Local visiting limits and arrangements are determined by the home manager based on the capacity of the home to manage visiting fairly for all residents.

It is possible for a person under the age of 18 to be a named visitor.

Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear PPE and children under three must not wear a mask for safety reasons. However, all visitors over the age of 11 will be required to wear a mask, apron and gloves which will be supplied by the home.

Other visitors who are not named visitors will be able to visit and those ‘non-contact visits’ will take place in our screened visitor room or outdoors. 

All essential care givers, for residents who have one, can visit if booked and prearranged, with the care home at any time, including during periods of isolation or outbreak, subject to negative COVID-19 tests. If the essential care giver tests positive for COVID-19 they must self-isolate and not come into the care home.

An onsite test will be required for all visitors over the age of 11 with the consent of their parent or guardian.

 

How are you planning for bad weather visiting?

Ensuring that residents and their loved ones continue to have face-to-face visits while keeping everyone safe and well, continues to be at the forefront of our decision making.

We have installed specially adapted visiting rooms or garden pods in our homes to allow for inside visiting in accordance with Government guidance.

 

Who is deemed to be an essential visitor?

Health professionals, including Local Authority social workers, government bodies that support the work of Public Health and key suppliers will continue to be welcomed into our homes to support our residents. Every visitor will be required to follow our strict protocols.

 

What do you do if resident displays symptoms of COVID-19?

We are supporting all residents to stay within their own rooms for their own protection wherever possible. This will be for a minimum period of 14 days and thereafter under constant review in line with government guidance on the spread of the infection. 

If a resident displays COVID-19 symptoms we are supporting them with 14 days of in-room care whilst wearing the required PPE. As is usual, we will contact the resident’s GP in such cases, and we are following national guidance and contacting the NHS (via NHS 111 service). In situations where two or more residents have symptoms, we are following national guidelines and notifying Public Health England.

Where a resident goes on to be confirmed as having the virus (through a valid test) they will continue to be supported by 14 days of in-room care and their health monitored and supported by the GP.

If an individual’s health deteriorates, we will notify NHS111 or Public Health England in accordance with the guidance, and we will contact the GP and paramedics as required and follow their advice along with the preferences in an individual’s care and life plans.

All homes are supplied with sufficient PPE for all employee and resident interactions whether or not the home has confirmed or symptomatic cases. 

At all of the above stages, we will contact the next of kin/assigned contact of the resident who is either symptomatic or confirmed as having the virus.

We have additional protocols in place to support those individuals who lack capacity and the Trust has its own team of Admiral Nurses who specialise in providing expert emotional support to families of residents living with dementia. If you feel you would benefit from speaking to one of the Admiral Nurses, please contact the Home Manager who can put you in touch with them.

What safeguards do you have in place when a new resident comes into the home?

In order to support the most vulnerable in our care communities, OSJCT protocols require any new resident coming to the home to either participate in an enhanced COVID-19 testing regime, or undergo 14 days of in-room care and support prior to joining the care home community. These measures are to ensure that COVID-19 is not inadvertently brought into our homes.  

For new residents, and those returning to us for respite care, who are moving from their own home, they can choose whether to undergo an enhanced COVID-19 testing regime (3 PCR tests and at least seven LFD tests) or to receive 14 days of in-room care and support, and less tests.

New residents coming from a health or social care setting, such as another care home, or hospital, will not usually need to undertake a period of self-isolation in their room, however they will need to have negative PCR and LFD tests, and be fully vaccinated.

Are all Homes and Schemes practising social distancing?

All employees are required to follow most recent government guidance on social distancing when not at work or on a break, and in the home where possible following our PPE guidance.

What guidance are you giving to employees who work in your homes?

We have developed strict protocols for those working in our homes. These cover things such as coming to work, managing their own health and wellbeing, uniform, infection control, equipment and supplies and of course how to keep your loved ones happy and engaged during this challenging time.

We are also making sure that our employees are supported by encouraging them to talk to their manager if they have questions or need support. In addition, we have an Employee Assistance Programme which offers confidential and free advice on a range of topics including financial matters and stress management.

How can I find out if my loved one is OK and keeping busy during this time?

We appreciate this is a concerning time for you and your loved ones. We can assure you that we’re trying to keep life in the home as normal as possible for all our residents whilst ensuring their health and well-being remains our top priority.

We have supplied our homes with iPads so that they can continue to have regular dialogue with you. Please contact your loved one’s home to arrange a video call.

We have a team working to provide residents with engaging activities and if your home has a dedicated Facebook page, they will be keeping you up-to-date through that forum.

Direct communication may be challenging at times due to how busy our services are, but please be reassured that you will be contacted by the home or scheme should there be any concern regarding your loved one.

Are you testing for COVID-19 in colleagues and residents?

We took part in the Department Health and Social Care testing pilot for care homes in summer 2020. Throughout the testing pilot, 99.5% of our employees and 99.8% of our residents received negative test results.  

All our employees and residents have regular Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests, as well as Lateral Flow Device (LFD) when required as part of our protocols.

LFD tests have also been rolled out to our homes to support visiting from family and loved-ones. 

Any individual who has COVID-19 symptoms, whether resident or employee, will still get tested via access to testing kits from the Government website or local testing centres. In addition, residents and employees are regularly tested regardless of whether they show symptoms or not.

Where a home is in outbreak (defined as two or more positive or clinically suspected cases of the virus, whether resident or employee) Public Health England (PHE) will contact the home to discuss additional testing. The current approach of PHE is also influenced by the prevalence of the virus in the local community. Usually a home is in outbreak for a period of 28 days from the last confirmed or clinically suspected case.

The government continues to offer testing for all who need it in social care settings. Guidance on accessing testing can be found here. The testing includes:

  • All symptomatic care residents
  • All patients discharged from hospitals before going into care homes
  • All social care staff who need a test

Do you have sufficient PPE supplies?

While there was considerable media coverage regarding shortages of PPE within care homes, our early adoption of PPE ensure that none of our facilities were ever understocked. All our homes and schemes have stocks of PPE that is being used in line with Government guidance. These stock levels are monitored rigorously. We have been working tirelessly seven days per week to build PPE supplies and all our residents/tenants are being supported with PPE.

Do you have enough staff to manage through this period?

We have business continuity arrangements in place in the event any home or scheme were impacted by a reduction in available workforce which to date we have not needed to call on. We have been conducting a proactive and far-reaching recruitment campaign since early this year to ensure we have sufficient employees to cover our homes during these uncertain times. We have been overwhelmed by the response to our campaign, which has been targeted specifically at industries where employees have been extensively furloughed, and we are actively onboarding new colleagues every week.

Will any homes or services be closed or put on hold?

We will do everything in our control to ensure continuity of care to your loved one. If for any reason we felt this was at risk our monitoring would identify this and we would contact our Local Authority and all next of kin/named contacts to discuss our decision making. Moving residents/tenants would be an action of last resort.

Where can I get guidance on paying of fees and charges at this time?

We understand and appreciate that some residents and their families may be experiencing financial hardship because of the spread of COVID-19. Please speak to the Home Manager in the first instance so that we can discuss and agree the most appropriate way forward which will include advising you to contact your Local Authority who have the responsibility to ensure continuity of care.

How can I work for OSJCT as a paid employee or volunteer?

We are committed to providing the highest quality of care for our residents. This is especially important right now.

We are actively recruiting and are keen to welcome applicants from other industries such as retail, travel and hospitality as well as those who have experience of care. To find out more visit our Careers page

Our volunteers contribute so much to the daily life of our residents. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, then visit our volunteers page to find out more and apply

Who should I contact if I have a media enquiry?

Please contact our Press Office at press@osjct.co.uk. Our team is working hard to respond to media enquiries in a timely manner and we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Read OSJCT’s model risk assessment for offices: managing the office environment safely during Covid-19 and staying Covid-19 secure 2020 certificate.

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