Latest update: 9 March
Most of our homes are open to visits and are introducing 'contact' visits
As we leave the third national lockdown I would again like to thank you for your support during this incredibly challenging time.
Every kind word or action has been hugely appreciated by our frontline colleagues who have again been incredible in caring for our residents with the utmost dedication and compassion.
We are delighted to be able to continue to open our homes to visits and increase the levels of contact between our residents and their loved ones which is so important for the health and wellbeing of all.
As I wrote last week, we needed time from the Government’s publishing of the guidance late on Thursday to be able to adopt that into our visiting protocols. I would like to thank our care quality and infection control colleagues for turning this around so quickly.
There are many challenges to changing visiting protocols. For example, we must make sure that our homes have the resources to enable the extra workload required for testing of visitors and the additional cleaning of the visitor room after each use. We must also make sure that our insurers are aware of all activities in our homes and have arrange suitable cover. Whilst we can endeavour to predict and prepare for the detailed guidance following government announcements it is often what is not in the guidance that requires us to contact the Department of Health & Social Care to clarify points.
We are continuing to take bookings for visits as normal and when you book with your home you will be informed if the home is ready to enable contact visits in which the resident will be able to hold hands (gloved) with one regular essential visitor.
The visit will initially take place in our established visitor rooms where possible but both visitor and resident will be together rather than sitting either side of the glass. This also means that if a second visitor wants to join, they can from the other side of the glass screen.
As well as the regular visitor, residents can receive other visitors as normal where the home is not in outbreak, but they must be received into the screened visitor rooms or outside as weather allows.
All visitors will be required to arrive half an hour before the appointment and have a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) for COVID-19, the results of which will be known within 30 minutes.
PPE must be worn by the visitor, which will involve a mask, an apron, and gloves, all of which will be provided by the home when the visitor arrives. The visits will last 30 minutes, not including the time taken to get the results to the LFT.
We look forward to welcoming you back into the homes and hope that the hard work and sacrifice made by all will ensure that further restrictions are lifted again soon.