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Guide to Visits During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Updated: 11/12/2023

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Visiting guidelines
  3. How do I arrange a visit?
  4. What do I need to do before I visit?
  5. What will happen when I visit?
  6. Will I have to wear PPE?
  7. Named visitors
  8. Virtual visits
  9. Garden visits
  10. Visitors to the home
  11. Will my loved one be pleased to see me?
  12. Can I arrange regular future visits?
  13. Changes in guidance

Introduction

Sandhurst Rest Home has been open for business throughout this Covid-19 pandemic and life goes on as normal as possible for our residents. The management team discuss the latest guidance from the Government, Public Health England and the Local authorities.

We decided to act swiftly and on the 13th March 2020 we went into lockdown to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. This meant that we also had to put in place restrictions to visitors coming into our home.

Welcoming anyone into care homes from the community inevitably brings risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, these risks can be managed and mitigated, and they should be balanced against the importance of visiting and the benefits it brings to care home residents and their families.

In the face of new variants of the virus, we still need to be cautious to ensure we protect those most at risk in care homes while ensuring indoor visits can go ahead. While the vaccine is bringing much needed hope and protection, until more is known about its impact on transmission, residents and visitors should continue to adhere to all the infection control measures that are in place now.

It is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme.

In response to changes in advise from the Government we have reviewed our visiting policy and detail below our current visiting policy.

All visits are at the discretion of the manager and will be on a resident by resident basis.

With best wishes

Simon Brooker

Simon Brooker

Visiting Guidelines

The Government has announced a change in the visiting arrangements for care homes which will go live on the 17 May 2021. This forms part of the roadmap to cautiously easing lockdown restrictions in England, as recently announced by the Prime Minister.

The scheme will allow each resident to nominate up to 5 named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. A maximum of 2 visitors will be allowed at any one time or on any given day. Visits will be for a maximum of 60 minutes with a maximum of two visits per week for each resident.

Visitors who are parents will also be able to visit with babies and very young children, who will not count as one of the visitors.

The named visitors will be required to have a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test beforehand, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including a face mask, apron and gloves, during the visit and avoid close contact. Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands, but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging.

These visit will only take place in the residents room and not in any other part of the home.

Please note that outdoor and screen visits are available, meaning there will be chances for residents to see more than just the people that they nominate.

Appropriate PPE must be used throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.

Social distancing between visitors and residents, staff, and visitors from other households must be maintained at all times – during the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.

At present no pets will be allowed.

If possible your visit should take place between 10am and 12pm then 2pm to 4pm these times will allow us to prepare for lunch and supper and clean in between visits. Any visit outside of these times will be at the full discretion of the Home Manager.

How do I arrange a visit?

All visits must be pre-arranged with the Home Manager at least 24 hours’ before the visit is due to take place in order for us to keep the number of visitors to a minimum. Please do not turn up unannounced.

What do I need to do before I visit?

Prior to any visit to the home going ahead, you will be asked to complete and sign a health screening assessment and we will take your temperature and carry out a LFD test. Anyone whose temperature is 37.8 degrees or over or fails the LFD test or the health screening assessment will not be allowed to go ahead with the visit.

The best way to travel to and from Sandhurst is to come by car or walk rather than by public transport if possible.

Make sure that you have visited the toilet before you arrive as you will not be able to use the facilities in the home.

Please make sure that you have read and understood the guidelines contained in this booklet.

What will happen when I visit?

On arrival you will be asked to complete the health screening assessment form and a member of staff will take your temperature and perform a LFD test. These measure are to give us an idea of your Covid status before the visit starts. If you think that you have any symptoms please do not come to visit. If we have any concerns in relation to the tests we will not be able to allow the visit to take place.

If you have brought any gifts for your loved one then please hand them to a member of staff in a plastic bag so that they can be cleaned before being given to your relative. Please do not bring any food or drinks as gifts for your relative.

You will then be directed to the residents room, outside meeting area or the meeting room.

Will I have to wear PPE?

You will need to wear PPE including a disposable face mask which covers your nose and mouth.

Our residents are used to seeing our staff in a mask but it might be worth considering:

  • Speaking louder and clearer
  • Your tone of voice and the message it conveys
  • Bring a pen and notepad to write information down for your relative to read
  • Using gestures/signs to communicate
  • Keeping eye contact
  • Not wearing a hat or anything else that conceals your face further

Virtual visits

Virtual visiting by using applications such as Skype, WhatsApp etc. remains our preferred option for you to contact our residents as this is the safest way to see and speak to them.

If your relative has their own mobile phone, laptop or tablet then you can contact them directly.

If not, we have signed up with Skype and Zoom to host virtual meetings using an iPad that can be used by any of our residents.

All Skype / Zoom virtual meetings must be pre-arranged with the home manager with at least 24 hours’ notice. If possible these meetings should take place between 9am and 5pm. Any meeting outside of these times will be at the full discretion of the Home Manager.

The Skype / Zoom meetings will be for up to 30 minutes each in order to allow other relatives to contact their family.

Named Visitors

After completing the LFD test you will be provided with the necessary PPE and shown to the residents room.

Appropriate PPE must be used throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.

Visits will be for a maximum of 60 minutes with a maximum of two visits per week for each resident.

We will discreetly monitor the visit to ensure that social distancing and infection control measures are observed. Any visitor not wearing a face mask correctly or breaching the social distancing rules will be asked to leave.

All visits will be for a maximum of 60 minutes and must be held in the residents room and not in any other communal area.

Garden visits

One visitor will be allowed to visit an individual residents at any one time to enable us to ensure that social distancing can be observed.

After completing the LFD test you will be directed to the seating area by the best route possible. Appropriate PPE must be used throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds. We ask you to ensure that the social distancing rules are maintained between visitors, residents and our staff.

Garden visits will be for a maximum of 30 minutes long as we have to stagger visits in order to ensure social distancing and want to give everyone the chance to visit. However, if the weather becomes inclement then the visit will have to end and the resident will be taken back inside the home.

We will discreetly monitor the visit to ensure that social distancing and infection control measures are observed. Any visitor not wearing a face mask correctly or breaching the social distancing rules will be asked to leave.

Visitors to The Home

We have arranged a dedicated room to be used as a visitor’s room. This will allow the resident and one visiting party at a time to maintain contact with their loved ones.

All visits will be for a maximum of 60 minutes to enable other visitors to use the room and allow us to complete regular enhanced cleaning between each visit.

Appropriate PPE must be used throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.

Will my loved one be pleased to see me?

Life has been going on as normal as possible for our residents during this pandemic ad we are sure that they will be very pleased to see you.

Your first visit will probably be an emotional one as you have not seen your relative for some time. It will also be different to previous visits as we have had to put in place strict rules and new protocols.

The hardest of these is the request that you do not have any physical contact with your loved one and maintain social distancing. We know that this is very difficult but there is no exception to this rule. The need to avoid physical contact will have been explained to your relative before you arrive but in some cases they may forget and you might need to remind them.

If you have any concerns please speak to the Home Manager.

Can I arrange regular future visits?

Yes, of course. Please speak to our Home Manager and arrange a suitable time for your next visit.

Changes in guidance

In the event of a Covid 19 outbreak in the home, the service will revert to full lockdown and no visitors will be allowed.

We are ready to adjust our measures further in line with guidance and the progress of the virus. All our new protocols and safety measures have been designed to keep our residents, their visitors and our staff safe.

We do hope that you will continue to support us and fully understand the reasons for these or any future protocols and measures that we may have to put in place.

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