Latest update: 5 January
Update on visting and other COVID-19 procedures for family and friends
We start 2021 with hope that vaccination and new ‘instant’ testing procedures will make a major difference in tackling this virus and returning to normal across our homes and wider society.
However, we also begin with a new national lockdown as announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January. With the rapid increase in infections in England and the knowledge that the new variant of COVID-19 has a 70 per cent higher transmission rate, we feel the decision is correct but understand it will lead to difficulties and upset for many.
Visits are now only able to take place in two main ways: within designated visitor rooms or garden pods and through ground floor windows. If a suitable visitor space is not currently available your home manager will contact you directly.
We will continue to facilitate internal 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.
Our vaccination programme has proceeded very well with more than 1,200 front line colleagues vaccinated and hundreds of residents joining them. The roll out of the new Oxford-AstraZeneca Vaccine will simplify this process as it is easier to store and transport, so we anticipate a huge increase in resident vaccinations throughout January.
Our pilot of Lateral Flow Testing is continuing. 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 six of our homes and, if successful, we hope it will then allow us to enable more visits once the lockdown period has ended.
We understand the enormous benefit of visiting for the health and wellbeing of our residents and their family members and we will continue to do everything we can to enable these to continue. Our primary aim, however, remains to keep residents, colleagues and family members as safe as possible during this unprecedented global pandemic.
The vast majority of the visiting experiences have been welcomed and supportive to our residents, employees and family members however we have had a small minority of cases where our employees have not been treated with the respect they deserve especially at such a busy and challenging time.
We would like to politely remind all visitors of the importance to treat our employees and others with respect when visiting our homes/sites. We all work for the same outcome: the safety and good health of our residents and your loved ones.
All residents, employees and visitors have the right to be treated with respect and to feel safe and we have therefore introduced a Visitor Charter which can be found here.