10 November 2020
Following on from the recent Government announcement to invoke a second national lockdown from 12.01am Thursday 5th November we have now received a little more clarity on Care Home visiting from Central Government.
We continue to remain open where possible to visitors but must consider the risk associated with such visits, particularly indoor visiting. Visiting will be dependent on a number of key factors which will include an assessment of the risk associated with allowing visits in general , an assessment of risk on allowing specific types of visits, consideration of the physical safety, well-being and vulnerability of our residents, the rate of local infections as well as expert advice gained from local Public Health Departments. To this end, we have advised all of our Managers that they must seek advice from Local Public Health Departments and complete a risk assessment prior to making a determination as to whether visits are appropriate during the present lockdown and to make a determination on what type of visits, indoor, garden or window visits can be facilitated. This will mean that some Homes will be able to allow or continue with indoor visiting, albeit in a very structured manner, whilst some Homes who have historically allowed indoor visiting will need to temporarily halt indoor visits and allow external visits only. In a small number of cases, some Homes may need to temporarily cancel visits altogether due to the rate of local infections and advice gained from local Public Health Departments.
Although we welcome Government guidance in relation to visits, we will continue to view the safety and physical well-being of our existing residents and our staff as our number one priority. We view Local Public Health Departments as playing a pivotal role in providing expert advice and assistance in our endeavours to maintain visiting arrangements and will ensure their formal advice is given due consideration during our risk assessment process. Every Home will be advised to seek formal advice from Local Public Health Departments prior to making decisions in relation to visiting.
We do welcome Government plans to support specific family and friends to visit our Homes by ensuring they undertake regular testing, and we are closely monitoring progress on this matter. We view this development as an important step to promote the safety of residents, staff and indeed visitors to our Homes. We shall assist in any Government strategy which promotes the regular testing of visitors.
We remain committed to welcoming relatives to our Homes to visit loved ones wherever possible and will update you as quickly as we can with any change to the existing measures in place in our Homes, particularly if it has been deemed that there needs to be a new restriction on internal visiting. For Homes where there is a restriction on visiting, we will ensure such restrictions are for the shortest time possible.
For our Homes in Scotland, The Isle of Man and Jersey, visiting arrangements are following the guidance set out by devolved Governments and visiting is subject to approval by the Local Health Protection Teams on behalf of those Governments. However, for these Homes, we have also decided that visiting will be based on both Health Protection Advice and a local risk assessment on the safety of such visits.
Thank you for your continued support and patience. We will provide you with further updates, should anything alter locally and/or nationally,
With our best wishes, stay safe