The safety of residents, colleagues and visitors continues to be our priority
After the Government’s latest announcement removing restrictions, find out what visits we will be offering in England and Scotland.
In England there will be no restriction on the number of named visitors and the number of visits per resident per week, where the home is out of Covid outbreak and the visitor returns a negative test. Residents may leave care homes, that are free of any Covid outbreak, to visit or stay overnight with family or a friend, or go on walks in places such as parks, public gardens and beaches without the need to isolate on their return. A negative test result will be required. We are offering visits in our Covid-safe visiting suites as well as window and drive-up visits for all homes with the support of local public health teams. One friend or family member can be nominated as an essential care giver, offering the resident additional support during visits. Essential care givers can continue to visit when a home is in outbreak.
Take a look at our video to find out what to expect ahead of your visit.
In Scotland there will be no restriction on the number of named visitors and the number of visits per resident per week, where the home is out of Covid outbreak and the visitor returns a negative test. We are also offering visits in our Covid-safe visiting suites as well as window and drive-up visits for all homes where we have approval from local health protection teams. Residents may leave care homes, that are free of any Covid outbreak, for trips and overnight stays, or to go on walks in places such as parks, public gardens and beaches, with the group size in line with wider COVID-19 restrictions. A negative test result will only be required on return if there has been close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19.For homes in outbreak, essential visits can still take place and there are no limits on the number of people who can visit or the length of time they wish to stay.
Take a look at our video to find out what to expect ahead of your visit.
In both Scotland and England, the Government’s latest guidance removes the restrictions on the number of visitors and number of visits per week where the home is out of Covid outbreak and the visitor returns a negative test. It also enables residents to leave care homes, that are free of any Covid outbreak, to enjoy visits to a friend or family member’s garden, or to go on walks in places such as parks, public gardens and beaches. Residents may also stay overnight at a family home without needing to shield on their return.
In England, rapid testing will be used to support other trips outside of the home, which must only take place outdoors. Residents will be accompanied by a care worker or an already nominated visitor and they will not have to shield on their return. Before leaving the home, residents and their nominated visitors will be required to undertake a Covid test and health screening. Residents will also be tested on their return.
In Scotland we are following Scottish Government guidance is in relation to personal and social outings for residents, including day visits to public and private spaces and also overnight stays. Residents do not routinely need to take a test and self-isolate on return, unless they have been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19.
Trips will need to be pre-booked in advance with your loved one’s home to discuss and agree plans within the current guidance, which will then be documented within the resident’s care plan.
The resumption of internal visits only applies to homes that are clear of any Covid outbreak. For clarity, in England this means 28 days since the last suspected or confirmed resident or colleague case and in Scotland this means 14 days since the last suspected or confirmed resident or colleague case. 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, one friend of family member can be nominated as an essential care giver, offering the resident additional support during visits. Essential care givers can continue to visit when a home is in outbreak. They will be required to use PPE and follow testing and infection control protocols for the home.
In Scotland there are no restrictions around the number of essential visits that can take place, the number of people who can visit or the length of time they can stay.
We will be continuing visits in our Covid-safe visiting suites, garden, window and drive by visits, so we can accommodate a wider range of family and friends. We will record details of named 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. It may now be possible to take a LFD at home immediately prior to visiting, but please check this with your care home first.
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. In Scotland an apron is not required for visits.
Should a resident require an overnight stay in hospital, be admitted from another care home or have been on a visit outside of the home identified as high risk, they will need to shield for 14 days on their return.
Since the early stages of the pandemic, our teams have been working to a pandemic plan which is updated regularly to reflect any changes to either UK or Scottish government guidance. This plan includes a range of measures aimed at both reducing the likelihood of new Covid-19 infections and reducing the spread of infections where they occur.
We are delighted to report that over 92% of residents in our care homes have had their first vaccination, and many homes have already had their second dose, with further GP visits in the coming weeks. Around 92% of our colleagues have now been vaccinated and this number is growing every day. We have recently implemented a new recruitment policy to ensure all new joiners are vaccinated before they start work – an approach which has been welcomed by those who are keen to build a career with us.
Teams in our homes are working hard to find ways to keep residents in touch with their loved ones. Visiting options vary from home to home depending on the levels of risk in each home and the local community.
We are doing our utmost to keep residents connected to their loved ones using a wide range of tools. This includes regular updates on the Facebook page for the majority of homes, as well as using new tablets for Zoom, Skype and phone calls.
All Care UK homes now have purpose-built internal or external visiting suites available which enable visits to take place from behind a sealed glass panel, using a sound system to assist with communication. Where Government guidance and local health teams allow, these suites make it possible to continue visiting even when we have a case of Covid-19 in the home.
All visits must be pre-booked to enable us to manage them safely and ensure the appropriate cleaning and hygiene regimes are in place. This also enables our teams to identify which type of visit is best suited to you and your loved one and to take you through the protocols we have in place to protect everyone involved. If you are showing any symptoms which could indicate coronavirus, please do not travel to the care home as you will not be able to proceed with your visit.
Our homes are still accepting new admissions but with a few extra measures to keep everyone as safe as possible.
All new residents are being asked to take a test for the virus prior to admission. In England they will no longer be required to shield in their rooms on arrival. We will also undertake a further test and a full health screening on admission day and another test seven days later. In Scotland residents will be cared for in their rooms for a maximum of 14 days to reduce the risk of new cases.
New residents will be supported under our new resident 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.