Covid-19 Updates

Download Infection Control Assurance

Visiting

We are delighted to be welcoming more visitors into our Homes for internal visits and have policies in place for this that acknowledge the latest Government guidance in England, Scotland and Jersey. We are also now able to support our residents to be taken out of the Home by their nominated visitors. Please discuss our policy details with your Home Manager.

Our visiting guidance remains necessarily cautious and we will monitor the situation as we increase visits and trips out. Our key points include:

  • There will be two nominated visitors for each individual resident.
  • We will supply PPE to be worn by visitors.
  • The nominated visitors will be allowed to hold hands with their loved one.
  • Residents can go on trips out of the Home without any isolation period on their return subject to some conditions and must be accompanied by a staff member or nominated visitor.
  • Visits outside of the Home should be outdoors only
  • Public transport should not be used
  • Both of the nominated visitors can visit at the same time, or they can arrange to visit separately if that is preferred.
  • There are no set rules on how often nominated visitors can visit, or how long they can stay for. Please discuss with your Home Manager.
  • We have to ensure everyone has a chance to have visitors so all visits and trips out must be booked in advance.

Outdoor visits, window visits, visits using a screen and palliative care visits will also be continuing. Some homes may not be able to have visitors due to local health protection team guidance, but we hope that this will be for a very short time and for only a very small number of homes.

We would like to thank you for the continued support, patience and understanding during this time.

View our updated Visitor Guide for England.

View our updated Visitor Guide for Scotland.

View our updated Visitor Guide for Jersey.

When can I visit my loved one?

Please talk to your Home Manager to discuss nominated visitors and familiarise yourself with the guidance on this page and in our visitor guide.

View our updated Visitor Guide for England.

View our updated Visitor Guide for Scotland.

View our updated Visitor Guide for Jersey.

We are looking forward to welcoming you back into our Homes and have policies in place ready for this that acknowledge the latest Government guidance.

How many visitors will be allowed for each resident?

Government guidance currently allows for two nominated visitors per resident in England and in Scotland.

Can children come to visit the care home and will they have to wear PPE?

Visits with babies and very young children may take place with the agreement of the Home Manager. These children do not need to be counted as an additional visitor and any physical contact should be kept to a minimum.

Children aged 11 and over should wear the same PPE as adult visitors but do not need to have an LFT test.

Can someone under 18 be a nominated visitor?

Yes, it is possible for someone aged under 18 to be one of the two nominated visitors if the resident, family, and the Home all agree that this is appropriate and subject to a risk assessment.

The Home Manager would need to be satisfied that person under 18 is confident, capable, and able to provide the care or support agreed.

Will visitors be tested?

The nominated visitor will undergo LFD testing when they visit and our health screening will also continue. We have already ensured we have LFD testing kits in place and that our colleagues have been trained in undertaking the procedure.

Can I have physical contact with my loved one?

Visitors will be allowed to hold hands with their loved one providing appropriate PPE is worn.

Hugging is discouraged and we will review physical contact restrictions as time progresses. Initially, we do wish to be cautious and ensure risk to our residents is minimised in the early stages of a return to internal visiting.

If I am fully vaccinated, do I still have to wear PPE when I visit?

The vaccination status of the visitor or the resident will make no difference to the use of PPE at this time. Despite the increase in uptake of the vaccination, for now, PPE will continue to need to be used. Again, we will review this as time progresses in line with any guidance from Government.

What do we need to do when visits go ahead for my loved one who is shielding?

We will need to put into place special measures for residents who are shielding. This may include ensuring the visit is just a window visit at the present time.

How can I contact my relative at this time?

There are a number of ways in which you can keep in contact with your loved one and in touch with life at our Homes – by telephone, Skype, email, Facebook and other social media outlets.

We are supporting our Residents to view any messages you send over. We would love to encourage relatives, friends and members of the local community to stay in contact and we hope you will in the main take to using technology to get your messages through so that we can maintain the highest standards of hygiene and protection.

How will you support resident’s wellbeing during this emergency period?

We have designed our own unique wellbeing response to the virus with several projects and initiatives underway to support our residents’ wellbeing during this period of restricted visiting.

We have increased our use of technology across the Homes – all Homes now have a smartphone allowing for WhatsApp and Skype connectivity with relatives outside of the Home. In addition, all Homes now have SMART TV connectivity enabling virtual and digital activities to take place. Some of the activities taking place across our Homes include: Armchair travel, virtual Church services, virtual pet shows, create for COVID and virtual concerts such as Andrea Bocelli’s Music for Hope.

We have also launched our Regional Wellbeing Ambassador scheme, creating a support network between the Homes with a dedicated Regional Wellbeing Ambassador appointed per region to help support and embed our Wellbeing strategy throughout this period and beyond.

Furthermore, all Homes receive Caring Homes Wellbeing Communication Packs with plenty of access to suggested resources for activities in isolation, following social distancing measures and also offering 1:1 personalised wellbeing support. Included in the packs are also activities beneficial to clients living with dementia and those in self-isolation as well as a link to the Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point online forum. If you’d like to get involved with any of our virtual activities – please do get in touch outreach@caringHomes.org

Vaccination

At Caring Homes we see the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccinations as key in the fight against the virus and are encouraging all our colleagues and residents to have the vaccine when it is made available to them unless there is a medical reason why they should not do so.

Our vaccination statistics show that over 98% of residents and 82% of colleagues have had their first Covid-19 vaccination. We have also made progress with some of our residents and colleagues now having received a second vaccination.

For those not yet vaccinated, there are a variety of reasons behind this including underlying conditions, needing to wait a period of time following a Covid-19 infection before being deemed safe to have the vaccination, and for some, a hesitancy around vaccination. We continue providing information from trusted sources in print, online and via our own videos and are actively promoting the vaccination amongst all colleagues and residents.

If you have a few minutes please watch our Caring Homes Vaccination Update video where some of our team, including our Clinical Director Frank Cummins, explain why they consider having the vaccine to be essential.

Are Caring Homes teams being vaccinated against Covid-19?

We see the current rollout of the Covid-19 vaccinations as key in the fight against the virus and the expectation is for all our staff to have the vaccination when it is available to them unless there is a medical reason why they should not do so. Guidance and letters have been issued to our teams about what to expect from the vaccination process and we are making sure to answer any questions and reassure on any concerns.

When will my relative be vaccinated against Covid-19?

The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccines is currently taking place across the UK and care home residents are some of the first in the queue to receive the vaccine when it is available in their area. We have informed our residents and relatives of the vaccination process which we see as key in the fight against the virus. Exact timescales will vary from Home to Home so please speak to your Home Manager if you have any queries.

If a possible new resident has received the first part of the vaccination, will the home be able to arrange the second part in the Home?

Yes, of course. If the resident is still keeping contact with their GP and this is where they got the first part of the vaccination then they will get the second that way. If not the Home will pick it up and organise for them. This will be in the 12-week period now being rolled out by Government.

If the Home I am moving into has already had the vaccination for residents how quickly will they be able to arrange for me to have the jabs?

This will be as quickly as possible depending on the progress of the vaccination rollout in the area.

Admissions & Shielding

We are admitting new residents safely to our care homes and follow Government COVID-19 guidelines in relation to the period of isolation on admission. Where we believe that the period of isolation may cause a physical or psychological deterioration in a resident, we will consult with external professionals involved in the resident’s care and risk assess the isolation needed to minimise covid risk, taking consideration of all options to promote the residents safety and wellbeing.

We also need you to be aware that:

  • Any resident who tests positive for Covid-19 following admission will be asked to self-isolate
  • Conditions vary depending on whether the new resident has moved from another care home, a hospital setting, their own home or another setting
  • Every resident will continue to undergo regular testing for Covid-19 at the Home and regular oximeter and temperature checks regardless of the vaccination status in line with national guidance.

What is your admissions policy at the moment?

We want to assure you that the safety and wellbeing of our Residents and Colleagues is always our top priority.

Early in the Pandemic, we decided that we would not admit any resident to our Homes who has been tested positive for Covid-19 or is suspected of having Covid-19 prior to transfer.

This is particularly relevant in relation to admissions from hospitals.

Four factors have led us to review our admissions policy;

  1. The availability of the Covid-19 vaccine
  2. The development of Lateral Flow Testing
  3. Government guidance which now stipulates that those who test positive for Covid-19 should not be swabbed again for 90 days from the date of the positive Covid-19 swab and in some cases may be discharged from Hospital into Care Home settings
  4. The prevalence of Covid-19 in Hospital settings

If a person has not had a previous diagnosis of Covid-19 or has not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, we will only consider admission if they have been swabbed as negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours of proposed admission date.

If a person has a previous diagnosis of Covid-19 and is in between the 90-day timescale between swabs following a positive swab being obtained, we would only consider admission following certain criteria being met.

Is there health screening before admission?

Although we continue in our endeavour to assist the NHS as much as possible, we do not believe that such assistance should be at the expense of the safety of our existing residents and colleagues.

We have put into place a specific Health Screening Assessment and a Pre-Admission Assessment for Hospital Admissions as well as screening assessments for admissions from other Care Homes and the community.

Conditions vary depending on whether the new resident has moved from another care home, a hospital setting or their own home or another setting. Please speak to your home manager for more information on individual cases.

How can a resident self-isolate at your Home?

Many of our Residents have en-suite rooms and can therefore elect to self-isolate in their rooms if they wish to and we are able to provide the essential contact if that is what they prefer. Many of our Homes now have a dedicated area, an Admissions Suite, to allow residents to isolate when they first arrive with us, or if they should wish to. In these areas social distancing can be strictly observed, without them having to stay in their room.

Testing

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To support our visiting arrangements and ensure we are all kept safe during visits we have put in place a system of regular retesting in England and Scotland for both residents and our colleagues. The key aim of the regular testing is to continue to minimise the risk of infection and remain as vigilant as is possible to the transmission of the virus and maintain visits with loved ones when it is safe to do so. We continue to use Lateral Flow Testing in some of our Homes.

At Caring Homes, we are frequently updating our policies and procedures in line with Government and Public Health advice and keeping our residents, relatives, and stakeholders fully informed. The latest changes are fully detailed in the Q&A and latest announcement sections on this page.

Please speak to your Home Manager for further information.

How are Caring Homes protecting Residents and Colleagues?

Please be assured that Caring Homes is treating the Covid-19 pandemic extremely seriously and comprehensive contingency plans are in place for all of our Homes.

It is important to bear in mind that every year Caring Homes prepares to respond to infectious diseases, including a severe flu outbreak, and therefore, whilst this illness is new, it is very much business as usual for how we safeguard the health of our Residents and Colleagues.

All Home Managers and Colleagues are well informed and familiar with the steps we are taking and how they can help prevent the spread of infection. This includes establishing hand washing stations in the reception areas of all Homes, installing additional prominent signage about handwashing, and completing the infection control training modules through our digital learning platform.

Channels of communication are in place to ensure the latest guidance and support is available 24/7 to each Home and we have implemented comprehensive wellbeing programmes and support for Residents and Colleagues.

We continue to source supplies of all the necessary protective clothing and equipment and have been advised there will be more provided via the Department of Health and Social Care should we require it.

How often will Caring Homes be retesting residents for the virus?

At Caring Homes, the comfort and safety of our Residents is always our top priority and we will be retesting Residents monthly under a new Government pilot for a number of reasons. Although the test itself should not be painful, it can be uncomfortable. It can also be quite distressing for some Residents, particularly those who may be unable to understand the reasons for the test being undertaken.

Although the test can be carried out at our Homes by individuals in the general population, there are potential hazards with completing the test for those living with dementia or confusion and therefore they need to be completed by someone experienced and done so extremely carefully as well as compassionately. As time progresses and new, less invasive, ways of identifying those with a positive Covid-19 status are available, we may increase the frequency of tests for Residents. If you have any questions about the test itself please speak to your Home Manager.

It should also be noted that a swab test is only a snapshot in time, it gives an indication of an individual’s Covid-19 status at the time the swab was taken. The best methods to lower the risk of Covid-19 in any Home is by ensuring there are strict admission criteria, isolation of new residents, appropriate infection control and correct use of PPE. At Caring Homes, we have all of these in place.

Healthcare professionals

During this unprecedented time, we have taken on-board the latest public health and Government advice to enable our care homes to continue admitting elderly and frail people safely from home and hospitals safely. We use the discharge to assess model (D2A) to provide the right support in the right way at the right time. We share our bed availability via the NHS Capacity Tracker and the information is updated daily.

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