We are delighted that the Government have recently announced further easement of the 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.
Residents will now be able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures. Residents also have greater freedom to leave their care home for outdoor visits without having to isolate on their return. Unfortunately, the new guidance still suggests that people should minimise the amount of travel where possible and car sharing should only be with people in your household or support bubble.
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 groups, as care home residents are most at risk from COVID-19. These visits out of the care home should take place solely outdoors, except for the use of toilet facilities, with no visits to indoor spaces (public or private) and avoiding the use of public transport where possible.
Whilst from the 17th May up to 6 people or 2 households will be able to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors, this is not yet advised for care home residents. This is because it is possible to mitigate and manage infection risks within the controlled environment of a care home, but it is not possible to control the environment outside 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. Unfortunately, these visits still require a 14-day isolation period on return to the care home.
The Government has also considered the impact that a 30-minute wait for the result of a rapid flow test has on people when visiting, as well as the impact on care home team levels to support this. There will soon be a supply of rapid flow tests available to visitors to self-test in the comfort of their home, prior to visiting. The visitor will need to log the result of the test online, and for the visit to go ahead they will need to show evidence of the email or text message from NHS Test & Trace that confirms the result of the test logged on that day. The care home will continue to support testing on site for any visitor who does not wish to take advantage of this home test.
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. The visit may be cancelled if there is no confirmation of the test and of a negative result.
Please be aware of the following guidelines when coming to visit:
- All visits will be scheduled, limited to up to 45 minutes and will be socially distanced.
- Visits should be conducted at a distance of 2 metres.
- At each visit you will be asked to confirm that you are in good health and have not been in contact with anyone with suspected COVID symptoms.
- Residents will now be able to have up to five named visitors, with two visitors able to attend at once provided they are tested and follow infection control measures.
- If you are a Designated Visitor then you will be required to be tested with a Lateral Flow Test. Please ensure you arrive a minimum of 45 minutes prior to your allotted visiting time so that we can complete this test.
- We will continue to accommodate in-room visits, as far as practicable, for residents near the end of their lives (please contact the Home directly).
- Homes with outbreaks or positive cases of COVID-19 will not be able to accommodate visits.