Update to Visiting Arrangements: July 2021
Despite the fantastic vaccine roll out and the easing of some more restrictions in the wider community, we are very aware of the strain the current guidance for care homes continues to be having on all concerned. Before the pandemic hit, we prided ourselves on our open and welcoming visiting policy and visiting by appointment has been a hard pill to swallow for all of us.
We recognise that with the increased demand for indoor (testing dependant) visiting (now up to 5 named visitors per resident) some visitors are unable to get appointments as soon or as often as they would like, but please try to respect our hard-working Receptionists. They are trying to fit you all in as best they can.
Whilst it remains the case that testing on site at the care home is preferable for assurance purposes, and we do encourage this, we accept that some visitors may be confident, and find it more convenient, to test at home before the pre-booked visit.
If you wish to test at home, you must do so using the packs of 7 test kits that we will supply you with. Before issuing kits, the visiting co-ordinator will supervise at least one test on site and provide support to ensure you are confident conducting the tests at home and that they are being completed and reported satisfactorily.
We will keep a record of all kits issued to you and you will be required to complete a competence checklist for use and reporting of the tests. Please remember to inform the Receptionist when booking your visit that you do not require an on-site test.
Home tests must be done on the day of the visit and the result reported using the individual care homes Unique Organisation Number (UON), before beginning the visit. (The home will provide you with its UON when you collect your kits)
Once you have reported the test, you will receive confirmation of the result by text message and email to show proof of result. You must show proof of a negative test result before every visit i.e. the email or text from NHS Test and Trace and the date-stamped photo of the test cartridge itself.
If you are not able to produce a negative test, you will be asked to reschedule.
Opportunities for residents to make visits out of the home can be an important part of care home life. However, even as vaccine coverage increases, there are still risks involved in visits out and we must work together to manage and mitigate these risks.
Visits out of the home will be facilitated by prior arrangement only, subject to an individual risk assessment taking into account:
~ The vaccination status of residents, visitors and staff
~ Testing of those accompanying the resident or who they intend to meet on their visit out
~ Levels of infection in the community
~ Variants of concern in the community
~ Where the resident is going and what activities they will take part in while on the visit
~ The mode of transport that residents intend to use
If, following assessment, the visit is deemed high-risk, 14 days self-isolation will be required on return. In most instances the detrimental effects of self-isolation would outweigh the benefits of the visit.
On the day of the visit, visitors taking residents out will be required to complete the Visitors Assessment Checklist and provide a negative test, the same as for visits in.
To support safe visits out and to minimise the risk of transmission of infection to care home residents and other people in the home, the following measures are advised and should be considered for all visits out of care homes:
~ Residents may meet other people but should maintain social distance from anyone who is not one of their named visitors, essential care providers, or care staff and, wherever possible, should avoid close physical contact with those who are supporting their visit to minimise the risk of infection.
~ Where possible, anyone who the resident meets as part of an indoor visit should undertake a lateral flow device test and receive a negative result on the day of the visit. This can be confirmed by the named visitor. All tests should be reported to the unique organisation number (UON) of the care home
~ Residents should avoid crowded places
~ Residents should avoid using public transport where possible, especially at peak times; travelling in a family car or private taxi is an acceptable alternative.
Others involved in the visit should take steps leading up to the visit to minimise the risk to the care home resident and others in the care home, recognising that introducing COVID-19 to a care home puts all those who live and work there at risk. This includes receiving a negative test and following good infection control practice including social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing face coverings and avoiding crowded places.
Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection risk. It significantly reduces the transmission of the virus, particularly following 2 doses.
It is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take the opportunity to be vaccinated before conducting visits.
Please remember that all the measures that are in place are to help protect the most vulnerable, especially in the face of the new variants of the virus.
We thank you again for your continued patience and co-operation during these difficult times.
Best Wishes from The Hillcroft Team