Updated 6th January 2021

At Encore Care Homes, our priority is keeping our residents, team and community safe during these challenging times. We also know it is important to keep relatives, family and friends, as well as the wider community up to date with the latest information about how we are managing this situation.

Government Guidelines in Summary

‘Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.’


Who can visit

Visitor numbers are limited to a single constant visitor wherever possible, with an absolute maximum of 2 constant visitors per resident.

Visiting spaces must be used by only one resident and visiting party at a time, and between visits there must be appropriate cleaning and an appropriate time interval.

Where visits can take place

COVID-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Outdoor/airtight visits only.

Continued basic safety measures

Appropriate use of PPE and social distancing must be maintained throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds.

Our Response at Encore

Our Visiting Lounges, which are now within every Encore home, comply with the new COVID-secure visiting space guidance.

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 Guidelines

The additional update in response to the latest government guidance is:
  • A maximum of two people allowed in the guest side of the Visiting Lounges
  • Please maintain 1-2 constant visitors
  • 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.

If a resident cannot attend the Visiting Lounge

The recent governement guidance states that residents who are unable to leave their rooms, or who have advanced dementia and would struggle with COVID-secure visits, should undergo individual assessments.

Where an individual is not able to attend our Visiting Lounge and does not appear to benefit from virtual visits via a mobile device, 1:1 visits into the home will be risk assessed on an individual basis, and consent/best interest decision will be obtained from the resident/their NOK/POA. An individual risk assessment must be completed and approved ahead of any requested visit. 

Rapid Testing

As well as the standard weekly staff COVID-19 tests, we are preparing to roll out ‘Rapid Testing’ twice a week for staff, which produces the results within 30 minutes. This system is being piloted in two of our homes where these tests have so far been made available to us. The implementation of the Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests in our homes further enhances our ability to reduce the risk of asymptomatic transmission of the virus.

The fast-testing will enable us to identify and isolate team members more immediately who may be carrying the virus without symptoms – and is another very welcome and positive step towards helping us beat this virus.

Currently, Rapid Testing is only available for our staff.

The Rollout of Vaccines

Please be reassured that we are fully prepared and currently supporting our residents and staff to access vaccination appointments as soon as they are made available to us by the NHS surgeries that are local to each home.

This process has already begun for Encore staff, and from next Tuesday 12th January, the GP surgery local to our Bournemouth home will be attending Great Oaks to administer the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to staff and residents. The rollout of the vaccines will further protect our residents and teams from the virus, and we expect to hear in due course from our local NHS surgeries about the availability of appointments for our other three Encore homes.