As Autumn is now most definitely here, we have been reviewing our Visiting Arrangements. We are continually evaluating the circumstances within each of our homes for both individual residents and groups. This may require us to change our policy without notice based upon a change in risk either through local conditions or government guidance.
For many of our grand and beautiful homes, there is no easy solution in being able to provide a provision indoors that meets the requirements to maintain social distancing, provide adequate ventilation and the ability to be able to sanitise effectively following use.
We know how vitally important being able to visit is for both family members and our residents and we are working hard at developing innovative solutions that are weatherproof, welcoming and can fully accommodate safe visiting. However, we are not alone and many other nursing and residential homes across the country are also seeking similar solutions. With many of the solutions we have identified it has been both frustrating and disappointing to learn of either hugely prohibitive costs or lead times of up to 12 weeks for delivery and installation.
We are now working with a local company in the development of our very own ‘visiting pods’ and ‘safe spaces’ that will be purpose built to meet our needs, some of these will create an internal space within our homes and some will be units that are external. The latter will have heating and will be fully insulated. As these pods are being built specifically for our Swallowcourt Homes we are hoping for their delivery and installation over the coming weeks and once again ask for your patience and understanding.
In the meantime, I wish to take the opportunity to reiterate our current policy in respect of visiting based upon both local and national guidance and which is subject to change as our directives and guidance is updated:
For any home that has a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 we will be required to reimpose lockdown to all but non-essential visits until the home has been confirmed as symptom free for a period of 28-days.
Where we are able to safely facilitate visits, the following considerations and precautions will be taken into account;
- Alternatives to in-person visiting will be actively encouraged (use of telephones or video)
- Visitors will be limited to a single constant visitor per resident
- Wherever possible visits will be facilitated within areas external to the home, such as the garden or grounds with the required PPE and social distancing in place. Where this is not possible, we will seek to provide a designated area within the home to facilitate visits, again with the requirement of PPE, the observance of social distancing and adequate ventilation
- In-room visits will only be facilitated in relation to essential and compassionate (end of life) visits
- Visitors will be required to book their visit in advance, ad-hoc visits will not be allowed
- In line with track and trace guidance, the Care Home will maintain a record of all visitors to the premises, all visitors will be required to complete a screening questionnaire prior to visiting and should not attempt to visit if they are experiencing or have experienced Covid-19 related symptoms in the last 7 days or had contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- All visitors will agree to have no contact with any resident other than the resident they are visiting and will have minimal contact with care home staff. (Where conversation or discussion is required with staff this can be arranged over the phone following or prior to an in-person visit)
- Visitors will be reminded and provided with facilities to wash their hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser on entering or leaving the home
- Visitors will be provided with PPE (Mask, apron and gloves) and be required to wear these for the duration of the visit
- Visitors must refrain from bringing with them gifts or items of food or drink
In relation to all of the above we ask for your patience, understanding and cooperation. These necessary restrictions place additional pressures upon our staff teams, who continue to work tirelessly to provide the very highest standards of care and support to your loved one.
Once again, we wish to thank you for your continued understanding and support. We send our best wishes to you and your families and hope that you will remain safe and well.