Dear Sir/ Madam
Re: Keeping people safe as we open for visits
We are pleased to share that we have commenced work to support our Homes with garden visits. The safety and wellbeing of our residents and colleagues remains our ultimate priority and with this in mind, we have decided to promote a phased approach to the opening of our Homes to visitors.
We have risk assessed every one of our Homes to determine whether they are appropriately prepared for ensuring safety during visits. We have been able to determine that many of our Homes, where they have been totally free or free of Covid-19 for 14+ days (28+ days in Scotland) are able to commence garden visits. Please contact your Home Manager to discuss whether they are ready for garden visits to begin and how you might book to visit your loved one.
As we know, many people living in Care Homes are at higher risk of the effects of Covid-19 and therefore our phased approach to visits is vital as we need to fully assess the circumstances of each Care Home and each individual within the Care Home before being confident that visits can be undertaken safely.
Our main priority throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic has been to protect our residents and our colleagues. Because of this, we have put in place some extremely robust procedures to ensure the risk of Covid-19 to both our existing residents and to our colleagues is minimised.
So to support this and ensure we are all kept safe as we commence garden visits we are happy to announce that we have now been able to put in place a system of regular testing for both residents and our colleagues. The key aim of the regular testing is to continue to minimise the risk of infection.
Residents will have already had at least one test undertaken and what we are aiming to do is to put in place a system of regular swab testing, initially on a monthly basis, colleagues will be tested weekly. This system is to help protect residents from the virus by ensuring anyone who does test positive can be safely isolated and gain treatment and or be supported to take the appropriate measures, promptly.
The swab procedure is not painful and can be done very quickly. We aim to commence the swab testing in the week commencing 6th July 2020.
The procedures we have in place for visits are robust and we believe will be successful in allowing garden visits to be completed in a safe and appropriate manner. In the absence of specific official Government Guidance relating to Care Home garden visits in England as yet, we believe our protocols are balanced and recognise the continual Covid-19 risk alongside our resident’s rights and wishes to see their families.
We would like to thank you for continued patience whilst we ensure the full implementation of protocols to allow garden visits for all of our residents and ask that you adhere totally to the garden visits protocol which will be explained to you prior to visits commencing. The first initial visits will be arranged by the Home Manager who will decide how many visits will take place per day. Following the initial visits, you will be able to phone the Home to organise a visit, as long as you do so at least twenty-four hours in advance in order to allow us to prepare.
It is vital that we all work together to ensure the visits go ahead safely because if there is any outbreak of Covid-19 at a Home, all visits will need to be immediately terminated.
The allowing of visitors to our Homes will always be a risk in relation to Covid-19, but we believe that if the measures we put in place are strictly adhered to, that risk is totally minimised. Once specific Government advice is available in relation to garden visits, we will change our policies in line with Government advice as long as we believe that the advice does not risk the safety and wellbeing of you, our colleagues and our residents.
Once again, we would like to say thank you for your patience and cooperation and please be assured we will continue to do all that we can to keep you safe from the virus.
We look forward to welcoming you back very soon.