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Updated visiting guidelines for our residential care homes – 17 May 2021

On 14 May, the Department of Health and Social Care released new visiting guidance for care homes which came into effect on 17 May 2021.

Following a detailed review of the contents, we have  updated our visiting policy, to include the opportunity for more meaningful ‘enhanced’ visits for relatives and residents, safely and securely and to enable visits out of the home without the need for self-isolation on return.

1: Controlled ‘Enhanced’ Internal Visits

Each resident 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 resident has an essential care giver agreed with the home, 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 home.

The test must be done on the day of the visit and must be registered on the Governments 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 home 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.

The visit will take place within an area set aside by the care home, under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe.

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-our-residential-care-homes-12-april-2021/.

3: Outdoor and Window Visits

There are no changes to the guidance issued on 16 April 2021.

4: Visits out of the care home

We recognise that opportunities for residents to make visits out of the home are an important part of family and social networks and care home life, however there are still risks involved. Depending on the type of visit, residents may need to self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the home.

Visits out that have lower risks will typically involve spending time outdoors, or to take part in outdoor exercise not involving close contact with others. These types of visit as well as those listed below, will not generally require a 14-day isolation on return to the care home:

  • Work, education, or training.
  • Medical appointments, excluding overnight stays in hospital.
  • Other activities necessary to maintain health and wellbeing i.e. to a day centre or place of worship.

Visits out in exceptional circumstances, such as to visit a friend or relative at the end of their life, will be supported.

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. It also 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 residents.

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 the 30-minute testing process is a small inconvenience, as it helps us further manage the risks of coronavirus and allows us to enable visiting more safely. The care home will be able to provide you with 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 you will need to provide evidence of a negative test result before each visit.

Please be aware

In the event of an outbreak in one of our homes, and in line with government guidance, we would temporarily put all visiting on hold, and only allow essential visits for residents 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 home and how many can practically and safely be accommodated. Each home 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 home, please contact the home manager.

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

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