Family and friends letter: 15 May
Letter from Laura Brooks, Assistant Care Quality Director, about reduction in Covid-19 testing.
Dear family member or friend,
I hope that you are enjoying the spring weather and seasonal celebrations. This is a busy time for our homes, with many events and activities, including the recent Coronation celebration as well as spring themed crafting sessions and meals, concerts with entertainers, and visits with local community groups.
I am writing to share with you changes to Covid-19 testing in OSJCT care homes now applicable since the Government released updated guidance, COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
For most homes, residents and employees, Covid-19 testing will become the exception. A small number of residents and employees who are eligible for Covid-19 treatments will continue to have tests if they show relevant symptoms. People who fall into the latter category will have been informed by their GP and will be able to request LFD tests if they have symptoms of Covid-19. Positive Covid-19 test results are linked to the individual’s NHS number and recorded in their patient records.
Whole home testing during an outbreak of Covid-19 has now ceased. If Covid-19 is suspected or confirmed in a care home through testing, only the first five symptomatic residents will be tested plus any residents or employees who are eligible for Covid-19 treatments.
New residents moving into an OSJCT care home from the community, will no longer take a Covid-19 test before moving in. However, anyone moving from a hospital into a care home will need to take an LFD test 48 hours prior to moving to the care home. Only residents with Covid-19 or other respiratory illness will need to stay in their room before mixing with other residents.
This reduction in testing comes as Covid-19 is now managed in a similar way to other respiratory illnesses, e.g. cold or flu. Our care teams are alert to the risk of illness and look for early signs of any changes in residents’ health and wellbeing. Symptomatic residents are supported with care in their rooms, and family members will be kept informed of their condition. After five days of in-room care, residents who feel well and do not have a raised temperature can return to their usual activities.
We expect this change to greatly reduce the number of ‘Covid-19 outbreaks’ which affect care homes. This is welcome news for anyone planning a visit to one of our care homes or organising or joining one of our events. Nevertheless, the risk of infections in care homes can never be completely removed. Please continue to follow the recommended hand hygiene measures and postpone your visit to if you feel unwell.
If you have any concerns about this change, or if there is anything else you wish to discuss, please contact your home manager. With best wishes,
Laura Brooks, OSJCT Assistant Care Quality Director