Visiting Policy during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
Our priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is the safety of our service users and staff. This policy is based on guidance for Registered Care Home settings; however, its principles apply to all our care settings.
We believe that maintaining family and social connections is fundamental to the wellbeing of our service users and will work with our stakeholders to find the right balance between the benefits of visiting and the risk of infection transmission.
There are currently no nationally set restrictions on visiting in care homes. The following measures are in place to manage visits safely.
- If we experience an outbreak, we may have to limit visits inside the home, however each service user will be permitted to continue to receive one indoor visitor at a time. This visitor does not need to be the same visitor throughout the outbreak. All end-of-life visits will continue to be supported.
- Visitors no longer need to complete an LFD test prior to entry to our homes.
- It is not a condition of visiting that family or friends should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors take up the opportunity to be vaccinated and have their booster and flu vaccination when they are invited to do so through the national programme. Managers may ask to see evidence of this when determining risk assessments for individual service users.
- Visitors will no longer be required to routinely wear masks, however in some circumstances e.g., when visiting during an outbreak visitors will be required to wear appropriate PPE and follow infection control measures. They will be provided with PPE and advised of these requirements by staff.
- Visitors must not visit the care home if they are unwell. All transmissible viruses can be dangerous for our service users. If you have any symptoms such as a cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting you should avoid visiting until 5 days after you feel better. Please do not visit if you or any other member of your household has any symptoms of coronavirus.
- Visits do not have to be prearranged, but it is helpful if they are. We ask visitors to avoid mealtimes where possible.
- Visitors are now able to access toilet facilities and be offered refreshments
- Staff and service users should wash their hands thoroughly before and after a visit takes place.
- Visitors should sanitise/wash their hands-on arrival and departure.
- Visitors should be signed in and out using the visitor’s logbooks.
Out of home visits
There are no longer any requirements for service users to isolate following visits out of the home. The only time a service user will be required to isolate is when they are discharged from hospital from a ward where there was an active outbreak of Covid 19 or when a service user tests positive for Covid 19 themselves.
All out of home visits increase transmission risks for service users and staff so we will continue to apply the following precautions:
- risk assessments will be completed for higher risk out of home visits (larger gatherings or events) and will take account of the vaccination status of the service users, visitors and staff, where the service user intends to go and the activities, they will take part in during the out of home visit. The assessment will also take account of local levels of infection and variants of concern in the community.
- anyone involved in supporting visits should recognise the risk that introducing Covid-19 to a home has for everyone living and working there. Prior to out of home visits, particularly those taking place at a family home it is expected that suitable precautions will be taken to minimise risks. This will include informing us and cancelling the visit if you are unwell, and good hand hygiene. managers should discuss arrangements with service users and their visitors in advance.
- sensible precautions should be taken during visits. Careful consideration about the places visited and activities undertaken should be given e.g., a busy indoor space where close contact cannot be avoided will increase transmission risks. Wider guidance about maintaining good ventilation, limiting close contact, practicing good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene should be followed at all times.
- It is safer if visits avoid the use of public transport.
- service users and those they are visiting should, if possible, have both their vaccinations and a booster.