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Update to Visiting Arrangements: December 2021

 

In light of the new omicron variant of COVID-19, the Government has introduced new guidance to facilitate visiting whilst keeping care home residents and staff safe.

 

Residents can now nominate up to 3 visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular indoor visits (this number does not include essential caregivers or preschool-age children)

 

In order to manage the number of people attending the home at any one time, all visits remain by appointment and visits may last for up to one hour, subject to risk assessment.

 

In addition to the named visitors, residents can identify an essential caregiver who may visit the home more often to offer companionship or help with care needs.

 

All indoor visiting remains subject to a negative lateral flow test (LFT) on the day of the visit, either by conducting the test at home or on arrival at the care home.

 

Essential caregivers need to follow additional testing arrangements in line with care home staff i.e. a weekly PCR test and a minimum of 3 lateral flow tests a week: one on the same day as a PCR test, one 2 to 3 days later, and then again after another 2 to 3 days. These rapid lateral flow tests can be done onsite, at an asymptomatic testing site (ATS) or at home.

 

A negative LFT result does not in itself fully eliminate the risk of transmission, and these can only be used in conjunction with other infection control methods i.e., hand hygiene, PPE and social distancing. Appropriate PPE must be worn for the duration of the visit. Visitors should keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. Gloves are not required for hand-holding, but hands should be washed before and after visits.

 

Visitors (including essential caregivers) should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better

 

Please be reminded that although for those fully vaccinated it is no longer a legal requirement to isolate following contact with a positive covid case, we need to take a risk-based approach in these circumstances and do not allow those who have had high-risk contact (e.g. household and/or symptomatic) to enter our homes.

 

Residents will be supported to undertake visits out of the home as appropriate, subject to a full risk assessment. Residents who are fully vaccinated should not have to isolate following a low-risk visit out, however, 14-day isolation will be necessary if the resident is not fully vaccinated or the visit is deemed high risk.

 

High-risk visits may include those that involve:
• meeting people the resident does not usually spend time with
• mixing with a large number of people indoors
• meeting people who are unvaccinated
• meeting people who have not received a same-day negative LTF result

 

Wider guidance on ventilation, limiting close contact, good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene and requirements on use of face masks should be followed while people are away from the home.

 

Vaccination remains one of our best defences to combat infection risk. It is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, including receiving their booster, before conducting visits.

 

Our full visiting policy is available on request and on our website. Please remember that all the measures that are in place are to help protect the most vulnerable.

 

We thank you again for your continued patience and co-operation during these difficult times.

 

Best Wishes from The Hillcroft Team

 

Click Here To View The Full Visiting Policy