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Homes Visiting Update 10.03.2021

Homes Visiting Update

Homes Visiting Update 10.03.21

Dear Residents, Families, and friends.

We fully understand that current visiting arrangements and local authority suspensions are very difficult for residents and relatives. With my father living in Moat House, my family suffers the same.

However, please understand that the situation is very difficult to manage with a government strategy that does not seem to make much sense. Recent guidance for indoor hand holding visits has now been extended to relatives’ taking residents on external trip to their homes for visits in their gardens. This is fantastic, and we are all for it, but the relatives survey feedback was very mixed with many agreeing to this and many not agreeing and believing it is too early. Our decisions must balance this along with prioritising our cherished residents’ safety. Remember, just one infected resident could harm many of our loved ones.

Government guidance is confusing because it wishes us to enable internal visits and residents going to visit relatives’ gardens. But at the same time local authorities continue to suspend visits at a great many care homes, including many of ours, amid government sponsored media warnings to stay social distanced because the virus threat remains high!

It is wonderful that most residents and many of our team have received their first vaccine, but the medical advice is that residents can still contract Covid 19, get ill and infect others. We are advised to continue our robust infection control measures.

Government advice remains that we should suspend a homes’ visits for 28 days upon an outbreak (2 or more team or residents with positive tests) and if another positive test occurs within that period the 28 days restarts. Although it goes on to say we should do everything possible to allow visiting! We have to liaise with each of our homes’ local authorities for their interpretation of the guidance and final advice and each local area’s advice varies wildly!

We now have hardly any residents testing positive but frequent odd team members that do. This is inevitable as the team live in the community where Covid cases are prevalent. This has resulted in some homes having prolonged repeatedly extended suspensions. We disagree with this and have strongly argued against it because there is no evidence of transmission in the homes and that visiting in our visiting cabins is very safe.

We have therefore decided to take a more pragmatic flexible approach taking each home’s varying factors into account. Wherever possible we will continue with visiting in our very safe visiting cabins. Gazebos and internal visits may still be subject to suspension and we are reviewing arrangements for relatives to take residents to their home for garden visit and will make an announcement next week.

Our full visiting arrangements are detailed below.

Yours sincerely

Dave Lock

Managing Director

P.S. This page is accessible via our website to recipients of our text service and is not open view.

VISITING ARRANGEMENTS

VISITING CABINS

The following applies to Cabins, Gazebos, and Internal visits

  • Visiting appointments are to be booked via our website.
  • Visiting slots are for 20-minutes because of limitations of team resources.
  • Number of visits is a max of 2 visits per week for each resident.
  • Number of visits is a max of 1 visit per week for each household or 2 if you are the only household visiting.
  • Coronavirus guidelines as set by the government are to be followed.
  • Social distancing of 2 meters apart from all people during the visit unless hand holding has been agreed prior to the visit.
  • Care queries about your loved one should be made by calling the home and not during your visits.
  • Items brought for residents should be easily cleanable; boxes are good but not flowers etc.
  • Resident leaving homes are against government guidelines.
  • Virtual communication is encouraged, and resident assistance is available if resources allow.
  • Visiting arrangement changes are notified via our text service so please ensure that the home has your mobile phone number.
  • Resident exclusion from receiving visits may have to be made by us in exceptional circumstances if a risk assessment determines this is necessary i.e., particularly those clinically vulnerable to Covid.
  • Face coverings required unless you are exempt or wearing one distress’s your loved one living with dementia, in which case please inform us prior to visiting, In such case you will need to wear a face visor. To make communication easier speak loudly and clearly whilst keeping eye contact and avoid concealing your face further with say, a hat.

VISITING CABINS

  • Continue as before
  • Number of visitors is a max. of 2 people from the same household per visit.  
  • Arrive at least 5 minutes prior to appointment time for Covid screening including a temperature check.
  • Rapid tests are on hold.
  • Hugs are on hold.
  • Face coverings are to be worn to and from the cabin.
  • No Internal access to any internal areas of the home including toilets.

VISITING GAZEBOS

  • Bookings available from Tuesday 9th March
  • Number of visitors is a max. of 2 people from the same household per visit. 
  • Arrive at least 5 minutes prior to appointment time for Covid screening including a temperature check.
  • Rapid tests are on hold.
  • Hugs are on hold.
  • Face coverings are to be worn at all times during the visit.
  • No Internal access to any internal areas of the home including toilets.

INTERNAL VISITS

  • Prior to booking any visits one person per resident (government guidance maximum) should contact the home to register as the nominated single person authorised to make internal visits to a resident.
  • Visiting appointments are to be booked via our website for either a cabin or gazebo.
  • Call the home after making your 20-minute appointment to ask for your visit to be converted to an internal visit.
  • Number of visitors is a max. of 1 pre-authorised constant person. 
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your appointment time for Covid test and screening including a temperature check.
  • Rapid tests are required upon arrival.
  • PPE (surgical mask, apron and gloves provided) are to be worn at all times during the visit.
  • Visiting area will be a designated safe place set up with hard non-porous easy clean furnishings for infection control reasons.
  • Internal access has to be denied to all other internal areas of the home including toilets except for handwashing.
  • Visitor vaccination requirement is legally discrimination, so we cannot insist Although government guidance recommends this to help to keep residents safe.
  • Hugs are on hold, but you may hold hands subject to prior agreement with the home and in line with the resident’s individual risk assessment.
  • Hygiene strict hand wash, gel procedures will be in place.

ESSENTIAL VISITORS

Is a visitor that can make internal There are 2 very limited circumstances where essential visitors may enter the home:

  1. During palliative care it is important that a persons’ end of life experience is a special time with regular family bedside visits to their loved ones following a doctor’s diagnosis of end of life. This is now extended to a resident’s entire palliative journey as well as their end of life.
  2. Specific healthcare needs (to be introduced later once internal visits are successfully embedded): a family member may be asked to regularly visit to help support a wider team to meet the specific healthcare needs of a resident. This will only be in very exceptional circumstances as determined by our Dementia Manager or Dementia Specialist Nurse. We are developing a detailed policy for making these decisions.

You will be subject to the same testing regime as our team members to ensure the safety of the residents. We will provide PPE (surgical mask, visor, apron, and disposable gloves) for you to wear, and only essential contact with your loved one is allowed to deliver care and support.

RELUCTANT TO VISIT?

If you have not visited your loved one because they have dementia, and you have concerns of any type or are worried about how they will respond by maybe not social distancing and trying to touch you etc. Then please ask your home manager to speak to our Dementia Manager, Karen Middleton, who will help you and the home to make visits possible. This organisation advocates and provides support for families of residents living with dementia who are finding it difficult https://goldstandardsframework.org.uk/john-s-campaign-dementia