We are so pleased to be finally writing this letter and putting in place arrangements to be able to tentatively welcome you back into our homes. It has been a long year for us all, but the newly announced guidance brings some fresh shoots of hope as we enter the spring.
Our staff teams have been working tirelessly over the last 12 months to keep your loved ones safe and cared for and the first dose vaccination roll out across all of our homes, has been an overwhelming success thanks to a multi-agency approach involving our local GP practices and our teams.
Therefore, following the Government announcement regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions, I am writing to update you on how we propose to implement the one constant visitor approach in our homes from the 8th of March.
We recognise that it has been a long period of time for many of you to have personal contact with your loved one and whilst the offer for internal visits is open to everyone, please bear in mind the additional administrative and staffing pressure this puts on the services and only use this if other options are not available, at least while we are required to support testing and supervise the visits.
It is incredibly difficult for us to ask you again for your patience, but we ask this to support the safety of your loved ones.
The guidance identifies that one person should be the nominated visitor if more than one person wishes to take on this role please try and resolve this among friends and family first before involving the staff at the home.
Visits can only take place when there are no COVID-19 positive residents present in the home and/or the home is not closed due to an outbreak.
We are now able to support the administration of Lateral Flow Device (LFD), to support visiting in care homes, however this comes with some requirements of the visitor and an impact on our staffing:
- Visitors are required to wear a mask on approaching the home to collect a test
- The swabs (of the nose and throat) need to be completed by the visitor
- The consent to process the test needs to be completed and handed to the member of staff along with the swab for processing (again please wear your mask)
- The visitor will then need to remain in their car/or outside waiting are for 30 minutes for the result
- If the test comes back positive (showing you have COVID-19) you will be asked to complete a further swab and return home to isolate for 10 days
- If the test is inconclusive you will be asked to complete one further test (if you have time to wait)
- If the test is negative the visit may continue with personal protective equipment (PPE) provided
- You will be asked to register the result of the test on the gov.uk website (a device will be provided for those who are unable to complete this on their own smartphone.)
- Visitors then need to wear full PPE (mask and visor) during the visit to comply with guidance on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures
- If you are unable to complete a test or do not wish to take one please discuss this before attending the home. Failure to complete the test on the day will result in the visit needing to be cancelled.
- All face to face visits will be supervised to ensure that social distancing and PPE use is maintained, failure to wear PPE or maintain social distancing will result in the visit being cancelled
These rules are not set by us and will take a considerable effort on the part of our staff to implement. Your patience is appreciated and where there are issues please do not take these up with the staff but report these to the management team for resolution. Our staff are incredibly hardworking and dedicated and we have a zero-tolerance of aggressive/confrontational behaviour towards them.
We have taken the following actions to support internal visits:
- We have set up an online booking system for internal visits at www.swallowcourt.com, please be considerate of others when using this facility and book a single visit at a time, we reserve the right to cancel ‘block bookings’ so as to allow everyone the opportunity to receive a visitor
- Only one visitor is allowed to visit per person so we will be contacting you to identify this person and will ask for photo ID to support the staff to check who is the nominated visitor
- For those homes already using our electronic care planning system your visit will be logged on Nourish/otherwise you will be asked to sign the visitors’ book
- PPE stations have been set up in the homes, PPE will be available at your nominated entrance
- Please adhere to the visit times, these will include the 30 wait times for the test result
- There will be a relatives Question and Answer Session on Zoom – please feel free to join us on Wednesday 3rd 3pm
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 947 5408 3325
- Frequently asked questions will be posted on the website for those who are unable to attend the Zoom Q&A session
We continue to offer Covid-19 secure visiting facilities in the majority of our homes, which are bookable via our website, www.swallowcourt.com and wherever possible this should be the first option for visiting at the homes. We of course continue to encourage virtual contact using available technology.
We continue to support the vaccine rollout out to endeavor to reach a point where we are able to more freely welcome visitors.
Until then your patience and understanding balancing staff support needed and resident safely continues to be appreciated.