Latest update: 28 January
I would like to start by expressing my deep gratitude to family and friends of our residents for their support in recent weeks, and throughout the duration of this pandemic so far. Every message of recognition and thanks delivered to those working in our care homes means the world at this difficult time.
Across the care sector we have witnessed the predicted increase in infections that the new COVID-19 variant has brought. It was a difficult decision to close our homes to visitors earlier this month, but I can say with confidence that it was the right one. Infection rates are beginning to show signs of slowing and our care teams have been able to focus their attention on caring for our residents.
We are getting ready to re-open homes for visiting in our visitor rooms, subject to local conditions, and hope that this will be possible by 8 February. One of the reasons for bringing visiting back gradually is to allow the vaccinations to have taken effect.
We are working through the policy and processes that will need to be in place to allow visits to take place and as part of those processes, visitors will be required to have a Lateral Flow Device test, as per government guidance, and then there will be a wait of 30 minutes for the test result. We are discussing the best way we can provide waiting areas outside of the home, but in the meantime would ask wherever possible for individuals to come by car so that you can wait in your car for the test result. We will share further detail next week.
We will of course continue to facilitate visits for residents receiving end of life care. Two individuals from the same household can visit at the same time. Family and loved ones from other households can also visit, but these visits must be on separate occasions and not mixing different households.
Please understand that these decisions are never taken lightly, and we remain committed to enabling meaningful visits as soon as we can.
We hold hope that vaccination and increased testing creates the path towards a better future and are delighted that as of January 27, more than 80 per cent of residents and almost 60% of frontline staff have been vaccinated.
Please continue your support of our care teams through these challenging times. And please access the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available to you.
“We encourage everyone to go and get jabbed! Together we can beat it!”