Phase 3 Visiting – October 2020

A relaxation on the outside visit rules, subject to the restrictions stated below.

We have to date been strict with the rules for outside visiting, as we have been cautious to avoid any increase in the spread of Covid-19. We know how terribly hard it is on you, as well as our residents not to be able to see each other and I would like to personally thank all of you for your patience, understanding and support at this time we really appreciate it.

Some positive results are being shown across the group.

I’m sure that you will be aware that we perform a Covid swab test on all staff every week, and on all residents every 28 days. We do currently have a small number of staff and residents testing positive within our group. If your home is affected by a positive test result, the manager of your home will take the appropriate action, which includes informing our local infection control department and following their instructions, and also informing all relatives, as well as many other actions.

Has outside visiting caused a rise in the number of positive results?

At this point we do not fully understand how the virus is being transmitted, and nor do we really understand what is making our positive tests occur. With the exception of one person, all of the positive tests have been on people who have no symptoms. We have carefully studied the pattern of our positive test results and we do not believe that outside visiting has had an impact on the number of positive results, or on which individuals are testing positive.

A cautious relaxation in the rules for outside visiting.

For this reason we are delighted to be able to announce a slight relaxation in our outside visiting rules to allow the following:

  • Two people at one time from the same household can visit.
  • People from different households can visit (but no more than 2 people at any one time).
  • In exceptional circumstances, two people from different households can visit at the same time.
  • In exceptional circumstances, a longer visit may be possible.

Please see examples below for clarification.

  • Example 1 – A resident’s daughter plus her husband from the same household may visit, and then on a different day a resident’s son and his partner from the same household may visit. Go ahead and book your slot.
  • Example 2 – I need to bring someone from another household
    If a resident is to be visited by someone elderly or disabled, and they need to be brought by another person, please ring the home manager to arrange this. For example: a resident’s husband or wife wants to visit, and their daughter or son, who lives in another household wants to bring them. Please call the manager to arrange.
  • Example 3 – I need a longer visit. We may be able to offer this, for example if you are travelling a long way in order to visit. Please call the home manager to discuss. Please call the manager to arrange

Here are the new guidelines for outside visiting:

  • The home that you wish to visit must not be in lockdown.
  • The area that you live in or that you are coming to visit from must not be in lockdown.
  • The home you wish to visit does not currently have anyone with a positive test result.
  • Pre-book your visit, which can be a maximum of half an hour long.
  • Please wear a mask.
  • Please use sanitiser.
  • Please stay 1 metre away at all times and no touching.
  • Don’t visit if you have any symptoms of any illness at all, including diarrhoea and vomiting or seasonal viruses such as coughs and colds.
  • No one who is attending school or university can visit, as we have learned that younger people in particular are more likely to have the virus but not have any symptoms, and they are also within bigger bubbles, which makes it less safe for our residents.
  • No more than 2 people to visit at any one time, and the 2 people should be from the same household.
  • Different households can now visit, but not at the same time- no more than 2 people at any one time.
  • Please do not come to the home on public transport wherever possible, and follow social distancing rules when travelling to and from the home.
  • Please follow Government guidelines for social distancing when outside the home, as this lessens the risk of you becoming infected.

It will be necessary for us to have gaps between visits so that the area can be cleaned between visits if required, and also to maintain social distancing between visitors.

Please note that the Covid situation is fast changing, and we may need to restrict or even stop visiting altogether, and this may happen at very short notice. We usually hear about changes to guidance on the news at the same time that you do, sometimes we have to act fast, and sometimes we have to take time to make any changes in a way that is safe for everyone. We know that this is often extremely frustrating and we thank you for your patience and understanding with this.

Please note that if you do touch a resident, we will be forced to self-isolate that person for two weeks, so please observe this rule strictly. We don’t want to have to do this, however we need to protect all of our other residents.

Before the pandemic, we already had strict control audits for managing outbreaks of infection, and as more has become known about the Covid-19 we have adapted our use of appropriate PPE, hand washing and sanitisation of facilities. We have also reviewed and updated many of our policies and procedures to take the pandemic into account, and we continue to train and re-train our staff on a regular basis and review all of our operating policies on a very regular basis.

Speaking of staff, they continue to be at the heart of our care homes. They continue to learn and adapt, and provide exemplary care to our residents, often with a welcome dollop of that famous Yorkshire humour.

Our Managers, directors and head office teams are working equally hard to keep us all up to date about infection control and changes in guidelines.

The whole home testing programme is also continuing for all residents and staff in our homes, bringing reassurance and learning about the Covid-19 virus.

CQC inspections have re-commenced

Finally, you may be interested to learn that CQC are now re-commencing care home inspections. They will be held in a slightly different format to usual, and will be concentrating on the following areas:

  • Safe care and treatment of our residents.
  • Staffing arrangements.
  • Protection of residents from abuse.
  • Quality assurance processes, leadership, and risk management.

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