Covid-19 Update 19th July 2021
We appreciate the frustration the pandemic continues to have on us all and particularly on our residents and their families. Our teams are also desperate to return to normality but we must all continue to ‘air on the side of caution’, particularly as our residents fall into the extremely vulnerable category. New regulations for both new enquirers and our families are as follows:
Meet the Manager
Virtual tours have been very useful during the pandemic but we know that getting a feel for the home is important to you. New enquirers can book a face-to-face meeting on-site at the home with the Home Manager or home team to discuss your loved ones’ needs.
Join your loved one on Moving-in Day
Another area that is so important is the ‘admissions process’ or, as we like to call it, ‘moving-in day’. With a quick Lateral Flow Test, temperature checks and extra precautions, you are welcome to join your loved one in the home on the day they move in so you can help with unpacking and settling in. It’s a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other.
Regular Indoor and Outdoor Visiting
The 19th July 2021 ‘day of freedom’ guidance for care homes was not received from the Government until 16.50pm on Friday 16th July, which is why we have extended the current visiting arrangements until Monday 26th July. From Monday 26th July 2021, the new visiting rules are as follows:
- Booking will still be required so that staff can manage the testing regime, all visitors will still be required to take an LFT test and complete welfare checks
- Infection Control procedures will remain in place and must be followed, including the use of masks and PPE. Masks should be worn throughout the duration of the visit
- Visits can take place in resident rooms, without any screens or barrier. However, where we have extremely vulnerable residents, a designated room may still be used, the guidance for this will be provided by the Home Manager
- A maximum of 2 people can visit a resident at the same time
- Visitors will be required to remain in the resident’s room for the duration of the visit and not enter any of the communal areas of the home
- We respectfully ask that visitors provide evidence of their vaccination status on arrival to the Care Home
- We respectfully ask that all visitors avoid hand contact with any of the touch points around the home (handrails etc)
- The 5 nominated visitors will be removed and the resident can choose unlimited nominated people from the 26th July
- Residents will be asked who they want their nominated people to be and where a resident lacks capacity the family will be asked to advise who the nominated people will be
- Children over the age of 5 will be considered as a visitor
- Pets will not be permitted at this stage, other than those who are supporting visitors, such as guide dogs
- We continue to advise that close contact is avoided. Hand holding is acceptable if hand washing protocols are followed. Close personal contact, such as hugging presents higher risk, we therefore respectfully ask that this is avoided
- Please do not visit the care home if you feel unwell
- Visiting Pods will continue to be used and can be booked by all visitors, including those who are not named individuals.
Essential Care Givers
All Residents can nominate an Essential Care Giver, which is a person who will provide a greater degree of personal care or support to maintain the health and wellbeing of a resident. If you think that your loved one would benefit from this type of visit, you should discuss with the Care Home who will liaise with their Regional Manager.
- An Essential Care Giver will be required to follow a protocol and risk assessment which will be drawn up by the Care Home staff, Resident and Essential Care Giver
- Essential Care Givers must follow the same testing protocol as the staff, which is LFT testing and PCR testing. Generally, LFT testing is done twice a week and a PCR test is completed at the same time as one of the LFT tests
- If the home has an outbreak, Essential Care Givers can still attend and support the Resident. Testing will be daily
- All Infection Control protocols must be followed
- Essential Care Givers will be supported to understand the protocols around donning and doffing of PPE
- Communal areas will not be accessible for the Essential Care Giver
- Essential Care Givers will need to have had both vaccines.
Visits out of care homes
Whilst on a visit outside of the care home residents are asked to follow all national coronavirus restrictions that apply at that time, related to gathering and household mixing.
For the purpose of following these restrictions, the care home in which the resident resides is classed as one household.
It is not recommended that a resident living in a care home forms a bubble with another household outside of the care home.
Steps to mitigate the risk:
- Residents and visitors should have a negative result from a LFT taken IMMEDIATELY prior to the outside visit
- All residents and visitors should be free of any Covid-19 symptoms
- If a resident has previously tested positive, they must complete the isolation period prior to visits out
- If the resident or the person supporting the outdoor visit test positive the outdoor visit will not go ahead
- If a resident tests positive with a LFT test they will then be tested via the PCR test and the visit out will not go ahead
- During the visit out, the resident and those they are visiting are advised to socially distance, wash hands regularly, let plenty of fresh air into tooms and consider wearing a face covering unless eating/drinking
- As the residents are ‘at risk’ and vulnerable it is important that the person supporting the outdoor visits has taken steps leading up to the visit to minimise the risk. This should be minimising the people you meet for 2 weeks prior to the taking the resident out.
- If anybody involved in the visit outside of the care home has symptoms of Covid-19 or tests positive post visit it is imperative that the home is informed
Planning the visit
- You will be required to contact the home to plan for the visit out so that the home can complete the necessary paper work
- You will be required to notify us of the nature of the visit and the intended activities
- Where the resident will be spending time outside some areas will be safer for visits such as outside and well-ventilated areas
- Indoor public spaces should be avoided where there is risk of crowding
- The number of differing locations should be minimised
- How you will be supporting the resident to maintain good infection prevention control, including social distancing, hand hygiene and face coverings
- Transport for the visit, which should include avoiding any public transport
- If you are using your own transport thorough cleaning prior to picking the resident up is required
- If the discussions determine that the visit would put the resident, or other residents and staff at risk, the home has the right to decline the visit out
- If you are the person hosting the visit consideration and careful thought to the risks of your loved one must be considered
The Department of Health have advised that visits out of the home should be minimised as far as possible so that we can continue to protect the residents and staff. If the home has an outbreak (2 or more people) then all visits will be suspended until Public Health England declare the home safe for internal and external visits.
A Safe Haven For Your Loved One
Avery’s infection control procedures have proven to be robust and scalable and have withstood the test of this unprecedented challenge. The care sector regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has continued to monitor services through remote assessments during this time, and their Emergency Support Framework (ESF) standards have been met in full by all Avery homes.
The Avery services have all implemented ways of isolating residents in a quarantine area to ensure others are not exposed to the virus. Staff rotation has also been minimised between areas in the homes, and our established and comprehensive barrier techniques have been proven to be almost 100% effective.
The New Reality
We are confident that our care homes are now some of the very safest places to live and work.
All of our staff have been trained in additional and heightened cleansing protocols and hygiene regimes, and these are being supported by a leading sanitisation system as part of our comprehensive infection controls. Testing regimes will continue for staff, residents and visitors.
We have re-aligned the resident in-house services to meet social distance guidance from the Government, for areas such as lounges and dining rooms, and for visiting entertainers and hair dressers; we are working hard to restore these services within the ‘new normal’ circumstances as soon as we can, when lockdown rules allow.
Our Covid-19 Timeline of Announcements
18th September 2020 Staff Mental Health
17th September 2020 Sanitizer in our homes
12th August 2020 Internal Visits Announced
31st July 2020 CQC Latest Support Inspection Passed
23rd March 2020 Avery suspends all visitors to all its care homes
30th March COO Praises Staff
6th April Update
15th April Management of Covid-19
4th May Update
26th May Going the Distance
29th May Update
4th June Our Covid-19 Fightback
17th June Safe Garden Visits
13th July Managing a Pandemic Effectively