Family and Friends letter: 23 February
Letter from Mike Stredder, Operations Director, about Covid-19 precautions continuing in care homes whilst restrictions for the general population lift
Dear family members and friends
Whilst Covid-19 precautions are being withdrawn for many areas of the population, at OSJCT we remain committed to those measures which limit the risk of Covid-19 spread in our care homes, ECH schemes, and offices. We ask that all our visitors, family members, friends, and contractors are supportive and understanding of our teams as we continue to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of your loved ones, as well as those who work and volunteer with us.
This is not the time to become complacent, as Covid-19 and other contagious infections can have serious consequences for those who are among the most vulnerable in our society. Despite the relaxation on restrictions for the general population, there are likely to be new variants and the number of cases within the community and our services continues to be monitored. Importantly, there are no changes to DHSC guidance for adult social care, and our services will therefore continue to implement protocols already in place, such as: Covid-19 testing, self-isolation for asymptomatic and symptomatic employees, wearing of PPE, and limits to visits during outbreaks.
The Government has announced that most Covid-19 legal restrictions will end for the general population over coming days and free mass testing will stop from 1 April 2022, though the advice to stay at home and avoid contact with other people remains for anyone who tests positive. Full guidance applicable for adult social care from the 1 April 2022 is still to be published. Until we write to you about any new guidance, all visitors are still required to:
- Confirm they are fit and well before entering our services
- Abstain from visiting for at least 10 days if they have been a close contact of someone who tested positive to Covid-19 when they met them; and
- Abstain from visiting if they themselves have Covid-19, until at least day 7 (and then only visit if they have a negative lateral flow device (LFD) test).
- Take an LFD immediately before visiting one of our services (either before leaving home, or on arrival), and show a negative test result before entering the home.
- Wear PPE including masks according to our protocols
- Visit in designated visiting rooms/areas (or in resident’s bedrooms where previously agreed to)
The Trust will continue to:
- Test residents and employees on a regular basis
- Support employees to self-isolate when they have tested positive for Covid-19 or live with a family member who tests positive for Covid-19
- Provide comprehensive PPE to employees and visitors
- Implement enhanced cleaning and infection prevention protocols
We are seeking clarity from the Department of Health and Social Care as to the provision of free LFD testing for care home visitors following the withdrawal of free tests for the wider public from 1 April 2022. We will write to you as soon as we have further details.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we monitor, manage, and respond to the impact of these national changes, in our services.
With best wishes