Latest update: 10 November
Latest update for family and friends
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.
You will be as relieved as we were at the Trust when the government issued guidance late last week that moves back from a blanket ban on visits during lockdown and provides the potential for a resumption of visits.
A key part of the guidance was the approval of the use of specially adapted visiting rooms within homes. We believe the best way to create these spaces is by making alterations internally to most of our homes, and this will take the form of floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall screens in specific rooms. This will allow both resident and visitor to remove masks and other PPE.
There may be a very small number of homes where we will have no choice but to have an outdoor purposed visitor pod.
We are keen to proceed immediately but I want to share some context as to why it is taking longer than you might have hoped:
- We needed to identify a room which has the greatest potential to remain open even if a single household in the home had to be closed due to an outbreak. Even then in some cases we need to build a temporary room.
- Contractors can only go into one care home per day and hence it has taken time for them to scope and quote for the works.
- The new tiered system in England was introduced but the visitor guidance was not published for several weeks, meaning that we could not make this investment until we knew its use would be permitted
Updated lockdown guidance published by the Government last week required us to consider additional factors:
- Directors of Public Health in the regions could override the guidance and apply their own directive. We have reached out to gain their position ahead of announcing our protocols.
- Every one of our c.3000 residents needs a documented risk assessment ahead of the visits.
- Ventilation is required to be considered in more detail, so we have had to revisit the contractors’ plans.
We are working around the clock to put safe arrangements in place and we thank you for being patient whilst we work through ever changing guidance. You will be notified on 16th November when works are expected to be completed via website. Our current position is:
- There will be no visits for any home in outbreak (where two or more individuals living or working at the home have tested positive in the last 28 days) except for those in end of life care, but the use of iPads for virtual visits will of course be available during the outbreak period.
- Window visits will continue to be allowed and we will look at opportunities for having a location that can be used by those living on all floors.
- Garden visits will be allowed subject to an individual resident risk assessment to take account of medical and weather conditions.
- Where the permanent indoor room is not available within the next three weeks, we are identifying ground floor locations which will allow the resident to remain inside and we will then aim to install an awning or cover for the family member to be able to sit outside.
I am sure you will join me in thanking our frontline colleagues who work diligently to put our residents and family members and their colleagues at the heart of everything they do. The way they continue to put the love and support of your loved one and their colleagues foremost is inspiring, especially when managing challenges of the pandemic within their own homes and families.
As a large organisation we have the benefit of being able to organise things from the centre for the benefit for every home and the visitor rooms are one such example. If you have feedback, please direct it to email@example.com, leaving our individual homes to spend their time with your loved ones whilst we put these in place.
Fresh air is central in the creation of new visitor rooms at all OSJCT homes