Visiting your loved one from March
In both Scotland and England, the announcement about the resumption of internal visits only applies to homes that are clear of any Covid outbreak. For clarity, this means 28 days since the last suspected or confirmed resident or colleague case (though where we have had a single colleague infection, we have been working with local health teams to try to reduce the outbreak period). If there has been a recent outbreak in the home of your loved one, your home manager will be able to advise when we expect indoor visiting will be possible.
In England, visits inside the home will only be for one constant, named visitor.
In Scotland, visits inside the home will be for two designated visitors, visiting at separate times.
We recognise many residents will have more than one family member who would like to visit and so will be continuing visits in our Covid-safe visiting suites and window and drive by visits, so we can accommodate a wider range of family and friends. We will record details of the named visitor or designated visitors as part of your loved one’s visiting plan, which will be built into each resident’s overall plan of care and support. The visiting plan will also include an assessment of which type of visit is likely to be most beneficial to the resident in terms of their personal preferences, needs and capabilities.
Prior to your visit, you will be asked to wash your hands, answer a health screening questionnaire and take a rapid Covid test, otherwise known as a lateral flow device test or LFD test. The test should return a result within 20 minutes, so we are asking visitors to arrive at least 20 minutes prior to their visiting slot and, where possible, call the home from their car so one of our colleagues can come outside to perform the test. If you are arriving by public transport, please advise the home when booking your appointment so the home manager can talk through the alternate processes we have in place.
Unfortunately, if your test does return a positive result or if your health screen suggests you might have symptoms, we will be unable to proceed with your visit and will advise you to visit a local testing centre for confirmation via a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test. Should this be the case, you can nominate another member of your family as the named constant visitor until you have returned a negative PCR test, or your self-isolation period has passed if the PCR test showed you had the virus. This will be the case for all visits inside the home, including exceptional visits during end of life care.
If your LFD test is negative, you will be supplied with PPE in the form of a disposable mask and apron and will be escorted to your visit. Please do not remove your PPE for the duration of your visit or venture into other areas of the home – this will ensure we are efficient and effective with cleaning and infection control processes. We recognise some people may find the PPE uncomfortable to wear and some residents, particularly those living with dementia, may find the masks confusing. For these families, our Covid-safe visiting suites may prove to be a better option as they do not require you to wear any PPE.