The health, safety and well-being of residents, visitors and team members remains our number one priority and as such, we continue to follow the Government guidance for Adult Social Care.
What we have implemented
During this pandemic we have implemented robust cleaning processes and adapted our environments to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. We have:
- Installed automated entrance doors, where practicable.
- Ensured all homes have sufficient steam cleaners for carpets, hard floors, and surfaces
- Provided all homes with air purifying ozone machines
- Installed automated sanitising stations for entrances to our homes and in all team areas.
- Created easy access to a designated room to accommodate indoor visits with glass partitions.
- Installed wall mounted contactless thermometers in entrances. These will sound an alarm if the temperature is above 37.8⁰C.
- Set up a contactless signing in system, that uses an iPad and QR codes, to replace the current paper base system.
We are delighted that the Government continues to ease social restrictions currently in place. This advice now enables a higher number of people to come together both in and outdoors. We can now make informed, personal decisions on close contact, such as hugging, taking into consideration that close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
Whilst the government will no longer instruct people to adhere to social distancing and to the use of face masks, there has been no changes to how care homes can operate, and the expectation is that we retain current infection prevention and control measures to protect our residents.
In our Homes, residents are able to nominate designated visitors, who can visit regularly, and each resident can have a higher number of visitors each day provided they are tested and follow infection control measures.
Residents also have greater freedom to leave the care home for outdoor visits without having to isolate on their return. Where this is necessary, speak with our Home Managers to determine the nature of the outing and discuss ways to mitigate potential risks.
Where a resident requires to be accompanied on a visit out of the care home, it needs to be with either a member of care home team, or one of their named nominated visitors. They are unfortunately still not able to meet in larger groups, as care home residents are most at risk from COVID-19. These visits out of the care home should ideally take place outdoors, or well-ventilated indoor spaces.
This is because it is not possible to control the environment outside the Care Home in the same way. Visits indoors and overnight stays away for residents can be planned in consultation with the care home manager but are subject to testing requirements and risk assessments to protect the resident. An isolation period on return to the Care Home may not be necessary providing no substantial risks are identified.
A negative rapid flow test continues to be necessary prior to indoor visiting. This could be a test completed prior to the visit or on arrival. If you choose to complete the test prior to the visit, you will need to show evidence of the email or text message from NHS Test & Trace that confirms the result of the test logged on the day of the visit. The care home will continue to support testing on site for any visitor who does not wish to test at home.
If the visiting party is showing any of the symptoms related to a COVID-19 infection, high temperature, new and continuous cough, change or loss to the sense of taste of smell, or has been contacted by NHS Test & Trace to isolate, the visit will not be able to proceed, regardless of the test result. In this instance, the Home will make available a PCR swab test for the visiting party to use and post for laboratory confirmation.
The visit may also be cancelled if there is no confirmation of the test and that is a negative result.
In the event of an outbreak of Covid 19, all visits will be minimised as far as possible and limited to exceptional circumstances only. These restrictions will continue until the outbreak is confirmed as over, which will be at least 14 days after the last laboratory confirmed or clinically suspected cases were identified in a resident or team member.
Activities and Events
We also have risk-assessed our day-to-day activities and are adhering to social distancing measures. We are isolating residents and team members who develop COVID-19 related symptoms and shielding residents where appropriate. Our individual communities within the home have been kept separate and we only bring together a reduced number of residents for safe social events and activities in accordance with current Government guidelines.
Despite the challenges faced from Covid-19, our teams are still running a full and engaging programme of activities and have introduced innovative ways to keep residents connected with each other. This includes making use of our facilities such as our hairdressers and cafés and arranging 1-2-1 activities. We are also pleased to have welcomed back some of the entertainers our residents enjoy, whilst ensuring that infection control measures are followed.
We continue to welcome new residents to our homes. We are following robust screening measures for potential carriers of the virus, this includes testing residents prior to their move-in date.
In line with the most recent government’s announcement, residents moving into a care home from the community no longer need to complete an isolation period, providing they fulfil a certain criteria:
• The person is fully vaccinated, and there has been 3 weeks since second dose of the vaccine (where possible).
• There are no local concerns nor restrictions, arising from the rate of infection as consequence of a variant of concern. This is determined by the Director of Public Health.
• The person admitted has no known contact with a COVID-19 positive person.
• There needs to be assurance about the circumstances at the person’s home, prior to admission (this would relate to infection prevention control measures and adherence to Government advice: Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air).
• The person accepts the necessary enhanced testing regime
Where an isolation period is necessary, residents will benefit from a personalised 14-day settling-in period, allowing the team to explore their likes and dislikes, including the types of food they enjoy and the activities they like to spend their time doing. We have also considered the risk of isolation, and accommodate essential care giver visits daily, to support meaningful engagement during this time.
Our team members continue to be vigilant for any known signs of the virus, and screen residents twice daily for variations in body temperature and blood oxygen saturation levels which are early signs of an infection. We have established regular access to GP services and other clinicians.
This has been one of the most difficult times for all of us, but we must continue to follow the guidance available to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, and we thank you for your understanding, support, and co-operation.