Latest Update: 11 December
Latest update for family and friends.
I am sure that you have been reading or hearing about advances in the way that we can tackle this challenge of COVID-19. We have been proactively studying everything relating to these and adapting our processes to ensure that we can keep colleagues, residents and their loved ones as safe as possible.
Lateral Flow Testing
Lateral Flow Testing is a rapid response test which aims to identify positive cases of COVID-19 within 30 minutes of the test been taken. The Government has announced that all care homes will be supplied with Lateral Flow Testing kits by 18 December and we are currently carrying out a pilot study at four of our homes (Monkscroft Care Centre in Gloucestershire, and Willowcroft, Ashwood Care Centre and Athelstan House in Wiltshire).
We welcome the opportunity to pilot this new COVID-19 test but feel we must manage expectations around what it could mean for visitors to care homes.
- As with any test it will not completely remove the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19.
- A negative test result will be an additional safety measure and not be a replacement for the measures already in place such as the use of PPE and screened visitor rooms
- The Tier system and the guidance put in place (see details here) will not be replaced by the visitor testing
Some care home organisations and Local Authorities have already determined not to use Lateral Flow Testing due to concerns over reliability and we will continue to study the results of our pilot very closely and monitor the research and guidance as it becomes available.
We will update on the progress of this testing as soon as we can. From our pilot we will evaluate the capacity our homes need to be able to undertake the anticipated volume of testing and risk assessments to implement the guidance.
Colleagues at all locations across the country are securing their vaccinations and we are very pleased with the positivity with which our colleagues have approached this vital step in tackling the COVID-19 challenge.
Indeed, OSJCT’s swift work in accessing the vaccine was praised in an impromptu virtual visit by Government Minister for Care Helen Whately.
We are putting plans in place to ensure that resident vaccination goes ahead with equal efficiency once they become available and subject to the residents’ consent.
Nearly all homes now have a completed visitor room inside the home but, where this has not been possible, we have installed specific visiting pods within the grounds or have a risk assessment in place. There has been no change to the Tiers in regions that we operate since they were set last week.
We have assembled a table 'Visiting in Care Homes - Guidance' to make this advice as straightforward as we can, see below or click here to open in a new window.
Our exact processes for Christmas visiting will, to some extent, be informed by the outcomes of the above but we will update you on this as soon as we are able. OSJCT’s aim is to give our residents and their loved ones the best Christmas we can while keeping everyone as safe as possible.