Our response to living with Coronavirus

The safety of residents, colleagues and visitors continues to be our priority

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Our approach to living with Coronavirus

Last updated: 4 May 2022

To find out more about our revised approach please take a look at the links below:

When the majority of residents in your loved one’s home have received their spring booster the following changes will come into effect:

There is no longer any need to book in advance to visit your loved one – although it would be sensible to call in advance to make sure the home hasn’t gone into outbreak if you are travelling a significant distance to get there. There is also no longer a requirement for you to show a negative Lateral Flow Test.   

Government guidance says a face mask should still be work in communal areas such as corridors but may be removed if you are eating or drinking.  It also asks that visitors continue to wear one while in their relative’s room. However, in circumstances where wearing a face mask causes distress to your loved one, face masks may be removed when the visit is not in a communal area of the care home but we ask everyone to continue to take sensible precautions such as considering limiting close contact and ensuring the room is well ventilated while maintaining a comfortable temperature. Alternatively, perhaps consider wearing a mask with a transparent panel.

However, please note, you should not enter the care home if you are feeling unwell, even if you have tested negative, are fully vaccinated, and have received your booster. 

This is because viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as Covid. So if you have any symptoms that suggest an infection such as a cough, high temperature, diarrhoea, or vomiting, please stay away from your loved one until at least five days after you feel better.

We are also delighted to let you know that those homes which have a cafe or coffee shops will be reopening them again as we know how much residents enjoy meeting their families and friends in these settings.  Infection control measures will be in place to keep everyone safe so please do bear with us at busy times. 

If a home goes into outbreak

Our top priority is always the safety and wellbeing of residents and team members. 

Despite falling infection rates across the UK, should more than two people have Covid symptoms, and their cases are linked, the home will go into outbreak.  The leadership team will then implement the tried and tested measures in our outbreak management plan, designed to reduce the risk of infection spreading. 

We know how frustrating this can be for families and have reduced the length of time the outbreak period is in place in line with Government guidance.  Decisions about outbreaks are made in conjunction with the local Health Protection Teams with very little local leeway. 

If in outbreak, one named person can still continue to visit at any time. They will need to continue to carry out Lateral Flow Tests following the same regime as a care home employee.

Essential visitors such as ambulance crews or contractors required to do emergency repairs will still be permitted to visit. However non-essential visitors such as hairdressers and entertainers will be temporarily paused during an outbreak.

We can now provide residents with greater opportunities to engage in activities outside of the home, participate in trips and outings and interact within their local community. Residents who take trips out from the home will no longer be required to self-isolate on their return.

We are delighted to be able to reintroduce in-person show rounds for anyone considering a move to one of our homes – them team can advise on any extra infection control measures we might ask for.

Admissions may still be possible even if a home is in outbreak. Each is treated on a case-by-case basis and the home team will discuss the arrangements, timings and requirements with families in advance.

New residents will need to have had a recent PCR test and not to have been in close contact with someone showing Covid symptoms in the previous ten days. If a resident is unable to provide this, then they will be supported in their room for a period of self-isolation.

We will not permit anyone who has recently tested positive to move into one of our homes.


Our response to living with Covid.

We are very pleased to be able to say that, as the Spring booster Covid vaccination is being provided to residents in our homes, the additional protection and our continued infection prevention and control measures means we can start ‘living with Covid’ and regain more normality in day-to-day care home life. 

 

These positive changes will come into effect as soon as residents in each individual home have received their booster.  This will be different for each home and our teams will be in touch with families as soon as things can open up.

The main changes include allowing family members and friends to visit without pre-booking, no requirement to complete a health screening form or to take a Lateral Flow Test if visiting homes in Scotland or England, and cafés and coffee shops will be reopened. Larger gatherings involving people from the local community will be permitted outdoors.

In line with guidance from the Welsh Assembly, visitors to our Welsh home will still be required to carry out a Lateral Flow Test.

It is important to remember that if a home goes into outbreak or there is a suspected case of Covid, the team will need to reinstate infection control measures. 

The home leadership team will advise you should this occur.

We are also delighted to be able to reintroduce in-person show rounds for anyone considering a move to one of our homes in most cases.

Whilst being vaccinated is longer mandatory, Care UK strongly believes that all health and social care colleagues have a professional responsibility to reduce the risk of infection to others and we will continue to encourage our teams to have all their vaccinations.

We also strongly recommend that all residents and their visitors are fully vaccinated, including future boosters, unless medically exempt.

We look forward to being able to welcome more of you to our homes and we thank you for your patience, understanding and support over the past two years.

Care UK’s approach to the on-going management of Covid

  • Our teams  follow guidance around social distancing, respiratory and hand hygiene measures and the correct wearing of PPE. The vast majority are fully vaccinated.
  • We have maintained a high stock level of PPE, cleaning and decontamination items and continue to source from multiple suppliers to reduce the risk of any future shortages.
  • We are taking advantage of all available testing, ensuring colleagues and residents are tested in line with guidance from Government and local health protection teams.
  • We continue to invest in new technologies to maintain family connections.
  • We are not accepting Covid-positive admissions and prefer all new residents to have been fully vaccinated prior to admission. New admissions are usually no longer required to shield on arrival.
  • We appointed two senior nurses as Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Leads to provide additional scrutiny and support at a national level and there is an IPC Champion for each home to support colleagues in their understanding of, and compliance with, our approaches to IPC, cleanliness and hygiene.
  • We have invested in thermal imaging cameras to provide faster and more accurate temperature checks; air purifiers and fogging machines to provide added layers of reassurance to residents and visitors.
  • Should there be a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 in one of our homes, the home will follow an Outbreak Management Plan which includes additional safety and IPC protocols.
  • External entertainers and hairdressers are able to visit homes not in outbreak providing they follow the same protocols as other professional visitors ie they should have a negative Lateral Flow Test before entering the home, wear PPE as directed and undertake health screening.
  • Our housekeeping teams are continuing to deliver enhanced cleaning regimes using high quality decontamination equipment and hygiene products.