Government Guidelines in Summary
Who can visit
Every care home resident will be able to have a unlimited number of named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular 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.
Where visits can take place
Care home visiting should be supported wherever it is possible to do so safely – supported by this guidance and within an environment set up to manage risks.
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.
Visits outside the care home
The government advises the following measures and should be considered for all visits out of care homes:
- If appropriate, residents being accompanied by:
- a member of care home staff
- one or more of their nominated visitors
- Care homes should discuss arrangements with residents’ nominated visitors in advance
- Residents maintaining distance from anyone who is not one of their named visitors, essential care givers, or care staff and, wherever possible, avoiding close physical contact with those who are supporting their visit to minimise the risk of infection.
- Residents avoiding crowded places.
- Residents avoiding using public transport where possible, especially at peak times; travelling in a family car or private taxi is an acceptable alternative
Continued basic safety measures
Care home managers should feel empowered to exercise their judgement when developing practical arrangements or advice to put this guidance into practice so that visiting can take place smoothly and comfortably for everyone in the care home.
Our Response at Encore
Indoor Visiting Guidelines:
- No limit to named visitors. There are no restrictions on the number of ‘named visitors’ for each resident.
- Number of visitors per resident in one session is by arrangement. The number of friends/family visiting a resident at any one time is at the Home Manager’s discretion and must be agreed in advance.
- Booking your visit is still mandatory. No visits without prior arrangement will be permitted, as we need to continue to manage the number of visitors at any one time and keep a record of the Lateral Flow Test (LFT) registrations. To book to see a relative, please call the home reception number.
- PPE must continue to be worn by visitors. The risks of Covid-19 are still very much present, and we must take precautions where possible to protect our residents. PPE will also continue to be worn by all staff members, at all times.
- Physical contact is advised to be kept to a minimum. The government guidance advises that whilst handholding is acceptable, close personal contact such as hugging presents higher risks, however, it is safer between people who are double-vaccinated, as long as face-to-face contact is still avoided.
- The government recommends that those wishing to visit relatives in a care home environment should be double-jabbed with the Covid vaccine.
Visiting Guidelines for New Residents:
- The new resident’s “settling in” visit with one nominated visitor will not be restricted on time. The visitor must remain in the resident’s room for the duration.
- New residents in a 14-day isolation period can have one nominated visitor that will be allowed to visit them during this time. The visitor must remain in the resident’s room for the duration.
Arranging a visit outside of the care home
If one of a resident’s nominated visitors wish to take a resident outside of the home, this MUST be pre-booked, and visitors must have a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFT) prior to taking a resident out. The resident will also be required to have a LFT on their return to the home.
Testing before you arrive for an indoor visit
- You are required to take a LFT tests in your own home before you arrive for your appointment. As you will appreciate, with the lift on number of visitors, we will not have the available resource to continue to provide the LFT to all visitors. Please come for your visit with your negative LFT result. Your result must be presented to reception via the NHS registration notification email or text. If you are unable to take a LFT yourself, we will still do this for you at the care home, however, this service is by prior arrangement only.
- Visitors can order their own test kits via the government website: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
Indoor Visiting Protocol:
- All visitors will be provided with shoe covers, surgical mask (not cloth face covering), apron and gloves to wear at all times.
- Visits will take place in residents’ bedrooms only. There will be no access permitted to the communal areas of the home.
- All PPE should be disposed of appropriately in a yellow bin prior to leaving the home.
Our Visiting Lounges:
The Visiting Lounges are divided by floor to ceiling clear screen and have an intercom system. We are very proud to provide this custom-made installation and have worked hard to create a warm and comfy place to re-establish regular visiting. Our aim is to ensure that contact with loved ones can be as easy and close to normal as possible.
We wanted to build a substantial structure that would see us through the winter and beyond, as the pandemic continues to be a day-to-day part of our lives. The lounges are very popular since they opened, and we are so pleased to hear and see the positive impact they are having in our homes.
Visiting Lounge Guidelines:
The additional update in response to the latest government guidance is:
- Handwash/alcohol gel should continue to be used on entry and exit to the Visiting Lounges.
- Visitors must wear a face mask for the duration of the visit. (This is to reduce the risk of transmitting droplets into the room should they be a non-symptomatic carrier).
All visiting plans are subject to change at short notice in response to local outbreak status, public health and government guidance.