Phase 4 Visiting – November 2020

We would like to offer you an update about visiting in our care homes

As we’re sure you will appreciate, the Covid situation has been and continues to be fast changing. At times we have found ourselves re-writing policies and procedures at a whirlwind rate– even up to three times in one week! The information in this bulletin is correct at the time of writing however changes will be inevitable– we may need to tighten some rules and we hope in time be able to relax some rules, so please check in regularly with your home manager for the latest information.

Thank you very much for your patience and understanding throughout this difficult time, we know that it has been and continues to be hard for everyone and we really appreciate your support.

Tracey Holroyd RGN, company chair, and all of the rest of the Warmest Welcome Ltd team.

We are delighted to announce the types of visiting now allowed in our care homes.

Please note that all visits must be pre-booked and are subject to conditions.

Virtual and telephone contact, who can visit?

Anyone, the more the merrier! Please call up beforehand so we can have the phone or iPad ready next to your loved one.

Closed window visits, who can visit?

Anyone, as long as you observe current government guidelines and as long as we or you are not in lockdown. Please follow current government guidelines regarding masks, do not visit if you are ill in any way, and don’t forget to wrap up warm!

Open window visits, who can visit?

Up to two people at a time, from the same household. Different households can visit on different days. No-one who is currently attending school or university is permitted to visit at this time.

Garden visits, who can visit?

Up to two people at a time, from the same household. Different households can visit on different days. No-one who is currently attending school or university is permitted to visit at this time.

NEW! Inside visiting in the visitors room, who can visit?

Firstly, decide who will be the visitor for your loved one. For the moment we have been instructed by Public Health England that this can be a maximum of 1 person and this must be the same person every time. If you are bringing another person to visit, for example an elderly or disabled person, and you are not from the same household, please discuss with the home manager to decide if this can be done safely in your particular circumstances.

End of life compassionate visits, who can visit?

Preferably one person and the same one all the time as above, however these visits are arranged on an individual basis with the manager.
We realise that you may need the support of another person but for safety we must keep footfall within our homes as low as possible. Please ring us to discuss your wishes.

Our wish is to enable safe inside visiting in our care homes

Now that summer is over and it is clear that Covid-19 is going to be with us for an extended period of time, we have been giving thought to how we are going to progress visiting in our care homes throughout Autumn and Winter and into the future.

Infection control and the ongoing safety of our staff, residents and all visitors to the home continues to be our priority, however we do understand that many of you are desperate to visit your loved ones, in the same way that they are desperate to have visits from you. It would be fair to say that we all thoroughly sick of the restrictions that the pandemic is continuing to impose upon all of us.

For many residents it is very important that they are able to experience ‘in person’ visits; especially those with cognitive impairment or dementia whose understanding of the current situation may be limited and who may be significantly affected by the absence of visits, with a deterioration in their overall health and wellbeing. On the other hand, many residents are at higher risk of catching Covid-19 and the effects of the illness can be more serious for them, as they may be older, more frail, and/or shielding.

We need to proceed with caution to remain safe

Despite our wish to enable inside visiting, the weekly testing is showing us that Covid 19 is still very much present in the community, and the people who are testing positive in large part are showing no symptoms, and therefore unaware that they may be passing on the virus.

In addition to this, some of our staff have tested positive for antibodies whilst being unaware that they have ever had the illness.

We have learned from webinars and conferences that young people in particular seem to have little or no symptoms of Covid and so can be passing on the illness whilst being completely unaware that they are infected, so much caution is still required on all of our parts in order to avoid a possible surge in infections in our care homes, and this is why we are unable to offer visiting to anyone at school or university.

Given the uncertainty about the future progress of COVID-19 and difference in local transmission rates, we may need to reduce or stop visiting altogether, and this may be at short notice. We will try our utmost to give you as much notice as possible of any changes, however, please note that we do not get advance notice of changes in government guidelines and often we hear them on the news at the same time that you do.  Please check with the home manager regularly for the latest news.

What will cause visiting to be reduced or stopped?

  • Two or more staff members or one resident at the care home tests positive for Covid.
  • The area the home is in goes into lockdown or the area that you are coming from goes into lockdown.
  • You or a close contact of yours is ill or you  have recently returned from a country on the alert list.
  • Mealtimes are protected time, so we ask you to avoid visiting at meal times.
  • Local government tells us to stop visiting, or something else happens that we cannot currently predict.

Gifts, toilet facilities and refreshments

Please ensure that any gifts that you bring into the home can be sanitised or quarantined for 72 hours. Unfortunately we are not be able to offer you access to toilet facilities or refreshments during your visit.

Wrap up warm, even for inside visits!

Where possible we will have windows and/or doors open in all rooms used for visiting, to increase air flow as per guidelines, so please dress accordingly.

Care plans

We wish to take a person-centred approach to our new visiting policy, taking account of individual needs and capabilities. You may be aware that each of our residents has their own care plan, which states information about them and about their likes and dislikes. Each resident now has a Covid care plan, which will include each resident’s visiting wishes and preferences, the circumstances of their individual visitors and a risk assessment for each resident, including taking best interest decisions into account where necessary.

Policies and procedures

We constantly review our policies and procedures in line with all the relevant guidance and update them as required, especially where staff training, infection control and enhanced cleaning are required. We have a vast number of policies and procedures and we update them all, often frequently. If you wish to see them or have further information about them, please speak with your home manager.

The future

We hope to continue to learn as the situation develops, and we will review our visiting policies as we learn from their implementation of opening up to visitors and as the wider COVID-19 situation and guidance/advice evolves. We want to resume a more normal visiting procedure as soon as we can. We would also  like to reassure you that we are taking all steps possible to ensure that Warmest Welcome remains healthy and continues to offer an outstanding level of care in these currently challenging times.

Quicker testing enabling a more satisfying visiting experience

WMDC have asked for a small number of volunteers to trial the new 30 minute test. We think this is great news and we have volunteered for the trial. We will give you more info. on this as soon as we have any.

Guidelines for visiting:

Each type of visit is subject to strict rules in order to protect all residents and staff as well as visitors to the home to the best of our ability and in order to fulfil guidelines and our insurers requirements. In order to keep everyone safe in these early stages visits are subject to you reading our full visiting policy, agreeing to the restrictions and guidelines and signing a disclaimer and visiting agreement before your first visit. We can post these to you or you can print them yourself if you prefer.

Inside visiting in our visiting area

We will first start with one area of the care home to introduce inside visits. The area will be different depending on which home it is. There may be a visiting pod, or alternatively a substantial screen in place. The visiting room will be accessed from inside the home by the resident, and outside the home by the visitor, for example it could be a bedroom with outside access, or perhaps a conservatory.  Please contact the home manager to learn which area will be used at your care home. These are our first steps to re-starting visiting. We will relax the rules as soon as we feel it is safe, and when we are permitted to do so.

Please ask the home manager for details of all types of visits that are currently possible at your home.

So we can ensure social distancing and that we can be organised with cleaning etc., all visits must be pre-booked, please don’t just turn up.

Guidelines for all visits from October 2020, except virtual visiting.

What do I need to do before entering the home?

  • Please complete all of the boxes in the inside visit signing in book and ensure a staff member takes your temperature before you enter the premises.
  • Please sanitise your hands on entry to the room.
  • Please give track and trace information either in writing or by use of a QR code if applicable

Please pre-book all visits with the home manager

We expect that inside visits in the visiting room will be popular, so we politely request that your visit be half an hour long to enable more people to visit. Please remember that we need to have time to clean the visiting area in between visits, which we anticipate will take 15-20 minutes..

If you are travelling a long way, or have exceptional circumstances, please discuss the possibility of a longer visit with the home manager. We suggest that if you are travelling a long way you may wish to check that there have been no changes prior to setting off.

The paperwork

Every visitor must read and sign our Visiting Agreement and Visitor’s Disclaimer before their first visit, and give track and trace information.

Getting to the home

If possible please don’t use public transport. A taxi or car share is ok as long as you wear a mask and sanitise.

Rules we ask that you observe at all times whilst visiting

Please don’t touch, no matter how strong the urge is. If you touch your loved one we will be forced to isolate them for two weeks which is very distressing for everyone so please don’t break this rule.

  • Please wear a mask correctly at all times, so it covers both your nose and mouth. If you are unable to wear a mask, even if you have an exemption certificate, you cannot enter the home at this time.
  • Please stay in the visiting room and maintain a 2 metre distance from residents at all times.
  • If there is a Perspex screen in use, please stay behind it at all times.

Before entering the home

We will take your temperature on arrival– you can not visit if it is raised. Please sign the signing in book, using a glove to stop cross infection from both the paper book and the pen. Alternatively a member of staff may sign the book for you, depending on the home’s policy. Please sanitise your hands prior entry.

Late arrivals and cancellations

If you arrive late for your visit, the length of your visit may be reduced to ensure that other visits can go ahead on time. If you need to cancel, please do so as early possible, so someone else can take a turn.

Cuddle curtain

We are hoping to have cuddle curtains in place as soon as possible. Please discuss with your manager whether you and your loved one will be able to use it, as it’s not appropriate for everyone.

There are some circumstances under which should not visit. Do not visit if:

  • You have any symptoms of any illness at all, including Covid, (the symptoms of which are fever, cough and loss of taste or smell) plus seasonal viruses such as coughs and colds or diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • You are coming from/live in an area that is currently on lockdown or the home is currently in lockdown.
  • You or a close contact of yours has symptoms or has tested positive for Covid 19 in the last 28 days.
  • You are currently a student at a school or university.
  • Your only means of transport is public transport. A taxi is ok as long as you wear a mask and sanitise.
  • Meal times are protected times in our care homes so we would ask that you do not visit at meal times.

Despite all these rules please don’t forget to enjoy your visit!

We know that inside visits are likely to be emotional in nature. We have tissues at the ready! If it is at all possible for you, please try and make your visit a happy time that is full of joy, especially if your loved one is  suffering from a dementia type illness. We will support you the best that we can at this difficult and emotional time.

Inside visits in areas other than our designated visitors’ room

If your relative or loved one is cared for in bed and does not have a bedroom on the ground floor, we will do all we can to facilitate a visit, but this may not be possible until visiting within the building is permitted. Please ring and ask to speak to the manager about your situation.

Other requests from us to you

Please observe the current government guidelines at all times in your day to day life when not visiting, especially correct social distancing. Please be aware that visiting may be stopped, possibly at short notice, should we have an outbreak or a lockdown or we are told to stop visiting by local government.

So many rules….

Whilst it feels wrong on so many levels to be so controlling about you visiting your loved one, visiting  needs to be managed in a risk based, balanced, sensible way to reduce anxiety and try to ensure safety amongst staff, visitors and residents.

We need to safely balance the rights of an individual resident with the rights of the others within our care homes and our duties and responsibilities as the care provider.

We do realise that we are imposing a lot of rules however this is the only way we feel able to protect all of our residents, staff and yourselves.

Having experienced the extremely distressing consequences of a coronavirus outbreak in a care home first hand, we are extremely keen to never experience this again.
We promise that we will relax rules and conditions as soon as we feel that it is safe to do so.

We would like to offer our sincere thanks for your patience and understanding we take these first steps towards a more normal life in our care homes.

 

 

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