Our first priority continues to be to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in care homes and prevent future outbreaks, to ensure the health and safety of both care workers and residents.
We understand the challenges which care homes, as distinct from other health and care settings, face in safeguarding their residents from infection, and the particular risks of outbreaks of infection in care homes.
We recognise that this is a difficult time for many residents and families, and that visits are important for all those in care settings.
Keeping everyone safe
This guidance applies from 8 March 2021 and replaces previous guidance on care home visiting. It applies to care homes for working age and for older adults.
Visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing, and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care.
Care settings must continue to keep strict measures in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the resident and staff.
Before any visits can take place, all care settings should conduct a risk assessment, which takes into account the significant vulnerability of the residents.
All visits should be prearranged, and all visitors must be tested using an LFD test and the visit recorded. The contact details of all visitors must be collected and stored securely to support the government's test and trace service.
The care setting will tell you about the actions you need to take, and precautions needed for any visit. You must follow these rules.
You must not visit a care setting if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 as follows:
A high temperature - this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
A new, continuous cough = this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms
If you are not feeling well, please call: 119
How visits can take place
Every care home resident will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. These visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits. 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.
Residents with the highest care needs will also be able to nominate an essential care giver.
Care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows
The below is a guide to staying safe whilst social distancing:
- stay at least 2 metres (3 steps or 6 feet) away from people.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- wear a face covering
- touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth
If you’re told you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, it is crucial that you self-isolate at home for 10 days to protect others.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for unpaid carers
If you are an unpaid carer who is who is caring for somebody (especially if they are not in your household) you can order free PPE to help keep yourself and those you care for safe.
Visit Bromley Well to learn more and to fill out a short application form with CarePlace. Once your order is placed the PPE will be sent to your local authority who will fulfil the delivery of your order