Coronavirus information | Care UK

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Coronavirus information

Our teams across the UK remain focused on protecting the safety and wellbeing of everyone living and working in our care homes. 

We are continuing to monitor any changes to Government-issued guidance and adapt our ways of working accordingly. Our pandemic management plan includes a wide range of enhanced hygiene and clinical procedures which have been developed on the back of information issued by the NHS, Public Health England, Health Protection Scotland and the Department of Health and Social Care. 

Relative visits to our homes

The introduction of garden visits in the majority of our homes in the last few weeks has proven extremely beneficial for both residents and their families. Our teams have had incredibly positive feedback although equally, we recognise that the protocols we have had to put in place will be frustrating for those who were used to a more informal approach to visiting. We appreciate the help and support from families working with us to ensure new visiting protocols are meticulously followed, as it enables us to protect those living and working in our homes.

Our first priority must remain the safety of residents, colleagues and visitors in our homes and with this in mind, we are carefully following guidance issued by the NHS, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland.

For our homes across England:

  • Visits are only possible in homes that are deemed ‘Outbreak Free’ – namely it has been 28 days since the onset of symptoms of the last case in the home. This period represents twice the incubation period of the virus.
  • We are primarily focused on garden visits, enabling up to two visitors per resident for half an hour. We would encourage these visitors to be constant visitors, but if there are extenuating circumstances, our home managers are able to risk assess the possibility of alternating visitors. Unfortunately no children are allowed at this point.
  • Where residents are unable or uncomfortable with garden visits, we will do all we can to support visits inside the home. However, these will be limited to one constant visitor.
  • All visits must be booked to enable us to manage them safely and ensure the appropriate cleaning and hygiene regimes are in place
  • You will be asked some health screening questions at the start of your visit, will be asked to wash your hands or use the sanitising gel provided and will have your temperature taken. If you are showing any symptoms which could indicate coronavirus, please do not travel to the care home as we will need to refuse entry. As you will be aware, these symptoms include a raised temperature, a new and persistent cough, a loss of taste or smell and a generally feeling of being lethargic and unwell.  
  • You will be asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing for the duration of your visit. Unfortunately, this means no kissing, hugging or holding hands at present.
  • To protect the people we are caring for, residents cannot yet accept gifts, flowers or food under current guidelines
  • Visitors will not be able to use facilities such as coffee shops and toilets (unless for emergencies), however refreshments will be provided by care home colleagues

In our Scottish care homes:

  • Visits are only possible in homes that are deemed ‘Outbreak Free’ – namely it has been 28 days since the onset of symptoms of the last case in the home. This period represents twice the incubation period of the virus.
  • In line with Scottish Government guidance, residents are permitted to have a maximum of 3 visitors, from a maximum of 2 different households, who can visit our garden and outdoor spaces. These visits are limited to half an hour per week. Our focus will be on providing garden visits where possible, although where residents are unable or uncomfortable with garden visits, we will do all we can to support visits inside the home. 
  • All visits must be booked to enable us to manage them safely and ensure the appropriate cleaning and hygiene regimes are in place
  • You will be asked some health screening questions at the start of your visit, will be asked to wash your hands or use the sanitising gel provided and will have your temperature taken. If you are showing any symptoms which could indicate coronavirus, please do not travel to the care home as we will need to refuse entry. As you will be aware, these symptoms include a raised temperature, a new and persistent cough, a loss of taste or smell and a generally feeling of being lethargic and unwell.  
  • You will be asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing for the duration of your visit. Unfortunately, this means no kissing, hugging or holding hands at present.
  • To protect the people we are caring for, residents cannot yet accept gifts, flowers or food under current guidelines
  • Visitors will not be able to use facilities such as coffee shops and toilets (unless for emergencies), however refreshments will be provided by care home colleagues

Full details of how your visit will be managed will be provided by the home manager as each home is ready to accept visitors

Other visitors to our homes

As you may be aware, the restrictions to our homes have applied not just to relatives and friends, but to all non-essential visitors. This has included members of our internal governance, facilities management and leadership team. While we felt this was an important step to take in terms of reducing the risk of infection, we are very aware that these visits are an important part of ensuring the health and safety of residents and monitoring the quality of our care.

Please rest assured that all visitors will be briefed on the strictest infection control procedures and will be subject to many of the same control measures outlined for friends and family. 

New admissions

Our homes are now accepting new admissions. All new residents are being asked to take a test for the virus – ideally prior to admission, or at the beginning of their stay. Residents will be cared for in isolation during the first fourteen days of their stay, and will be supported under our Fourteen Day Promise. This promise ensures new residents do not feel isolated and includes support for daily video or phone calls with family, an enhanced in-room dining service, family involvement in care planning and a personalised lifestyle and activities programme agreed upon arrival.

Testing

We have been receiving a number of questions about the testing programmes that are mentioned regularly in the media.

We are working with the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS Test and Trace team in England to take advantage of capacity in their approved laboratories. This has enabled us to start a regular programme of testing for colleagues, which is also replicated in Scotland.

While this isn’t yet working as smoothly as we would like across all homes, it is a significant step forward from where we were in the summer. Testing is one of the most important tools we have to protect those living and working in our homes in the coming months and we will continue to lobby for sustained and better testing where needed.

Thank you

Finally, we would like to say a very public thank you to our colleagues who have worked tirelessly in the last few months to provide exceptional levels of care under challenging circumstances. We are exceptionally grateful for the commitment and dedication of our teams, particularly when many of them are mourning the loss of residents who had become very close friends.

We would also like to thank the families and local communities that have supported our homes over the last few months. Many of our homes have received cards, gifts and other messages of support which have been invaluable in motivating our teams to continue working through these challenging times. Your kindness and generosity has been greatly appreciated.

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