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Updated visiting guidelines for housing with care schemes – May 2021

Following a review of recent guidance and the easing of restrictions which came into effect on 17 May 2021, we are pleased to confirm new guidance for tenants and for visiting in housing with care schemes where we provide care and support. This guidance is effective from 24 May 2021.

While we recognise that the easing of restrictions have brought new freedoms to us in our general lives, we are conscious that we need to proceed with the easing of restrictions with caution to protect everyone living and working in the schemes whilst allowing much greater access within the schemes.

Following agreement with the Registered Social Landlords of the schemes, the guidance for visiting is as follows:

1: Internal visits

Visits to tenants may now take place in their flat. Each tenant can name five individuals as ‘named visitors’, who may, subject to a risk assessment, be able to hold hands with them during indoor visits. Up to 2 visitors may visit at a time.

If the tenant has an essential care giver agreed with the scheme, this person will count towards the five named visitors.

The ‘named visitors’ will be required to have a lateral flow device test (LFD) before entering the scheme. Temperature screening will also continue.

The test must be done on the day of the visit and must be registered on the Government’s NHS website. Visitors will need to show proof of a negative result via an email or text from NHS Test and Trace or a date stamped photo of the test cartridge itself.

They must also wear the personal, protective equipment (PPE) provided to them at the scheme throughout the visit.

Apart from hand holding, the guidance advises that visitors must avoid close contact such as hugging and kissing, bearing in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission.

In addition, we are pleased to confirm that tenants will be able to visit each other’s flats in their own social groups of up to 6.

2: Visits involving children and young people aged under 18

There are no changes to the guidance issued on 16 April 2021 – https://norsecare.co.uk/updated-visiting-guidelines-for-hwcs-12-april-2021/

3: Outdoor and Window Visits

There are no changes to the guidance issued on 16 April 2021. Families may continue to book a screened visit or external visit if they are more comfortable with this.

Booking

For all types of visit, indoors and outdoors, booking remains essential. This is to ensure we continue to comply with NHS Test and Trace requirements. There is no longer a time limit on visits that happen within tenants’ flats, but overnight stays will not be permitted. We will be re-introducing the signing-in and out book. This helps us to safely manage numbers of visitors at any one time, maintain social distancing and testing requirements as well as preserve the privacy and dignity of other tenants.

Why are tests needed?

For all indoor visits, lateral flow device testing (LFD) is essential, and we reserve the right to refuse access to anyone that refuses a test.

While LFDs are not 100% accurate, they can help us to identify at least some of those people who might be carrying coronavirus, but who are not yet showing symptoms.

We hope that you will understand the need for us to see proof of a negative LFD status as it helps us further manage the risks of coronavirus and allows us to enable visiting more safely. The scheme will be able to provide packs of 7 LFD test kits for self-testing at home before a visit. You can also get these test kits from community pharmacies, asymptomatic testing sites and via the Government website. If self-testing at home, evidence of an up to date negative test result will be required before each visit.

Please be aware

In the event of an outbreak in a scheme, and in line with government guidance, we would temporarily put all visiting on hold, and only allow essential visits for tenants approaching end of life and for those showing extreme, distressed behaviours.

In addition, whilst we are keen to facilitate as many visits as possible, this will depend on the individual situation at the scheme and how many can practically and safely be accommodated. Each scheme will be able to advise further about this and of course, this may change on an ongoing basis.

For any further questions or queries about visiting relatives or visits out of a scheme, please contact the scheme manager.

We continue to thank relatives and friends of our tenants for their co-operation. We look forward to further changes in guidance which will enable us to open up schemes further for our tenants and their loved ones.

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