Latest update: 22 December
Latest update for families and friends
Like many of you we are saddened that the additional restrictions were needed to be brought in following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday but given the latest news of the new variant we support prompt action that helps stop the spread of the virus.
None of our care homes are currently (as of 22 December) in Tier 4 regions but several are located very close to Tier 4 county boundaries. We must be mindful of the impact the new strain of COVID-19 could have and do all we can keep our residents, visitors and employees as safe as we possibly can.
Government guidance states: “If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’.”
Therefore, temporarily as we work through the implications of Tier 4 we will not be able to allow visitors who are living in a Tier 4 location to have a visit. We will continue to support virtual visits and all care homes have been supplied with iPads to make sure that can be achieved for as many residents as possible. As always there will be an exception for those residents in end of life care for 1 visitor if from a Tier 4 region.
We also share the disappointment of those living in Tier 4 who had hoped to host our residents on Christmas Day. Like you we have a duty of care to all our residents and employees and we can assure you that our homes will be ensuring that Christmas will be celebrated in our homes and a virtual visit will be supported instead.
We are currently trialling the effectiveness of Lateral Flow Testing in some of our homes. This is a rapid response test which aims to identify positive cases of COVID-19 within 30 minutes of the test been taken. The pilot study is being carried out at four of our homes and if successful we hope it will then allow us to enable more visits from and in Tier 3 and Tier 4 locations.
However, we must also manage expectations around what Lateral Flow Testing 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.
Once the outcome of the pilot is understood we will update our visiting guidance although we do not expect it to lead to large changes.
While much of this news is disappointing, I find myself constantly buoyed by the vibrancy and resilience in our care homes. My colleagues have been incredible during these extremely challenging nine months and the support and understanding from our resident and their families and loved ones is a constant source of inspiration.
I would like to thank you all, to wish you a Merry Christmas and to assure you that everything done at The Orders of St John Care Trust is carried out for the safety and wellbeing of our residents and colleagues.
OSJCT Deputy Chief Executive
“We encourage everyone to go and get jabbed! Together we can beat it!”