Care Home Visits & Admissions During the 2nd Wave of COVID-19

As you will know, Covid-19 cases in the UK are on the rise again, resulting in stricter government guidelines being reintroduced.

Naturally, this is an incredibly anxious time for both those who have a relative in a care home and care providers who have been and still are doing everything in their power to keep their staff and residents safe. This article aims to advise you of the latest home visiting and admissions guidance.

Visiting Q & A

**Please note that this information was last updated October 2020**

How is a care home visiting policy determined?

Due to Covid-19 cases being on the rise, care providers have been evaluating their current visiting policies and assessing the risk of the virus being brought into their homes. Directors of Public Health and care providers are basing their decision on visiting arrangements on a dynamic risk assessment considering:

A) The circumstances of the individual care home (employee availability, resident demographics, outbreak status)

B) Its local circumstances (local epidemiological risk, presence of outbreaks in the community)

Are there restrictions on the amount of visitors a resident can recieve?

In many cases, visits are being limited to a single constant visitor per resident wherever possible to reduce the risk of Covid-19 being transmitted to staff or residents. We would recommend that you contact your loved one's care home to ask them whether they are making any exceptions.

What is the best way to arrange a visit to see a resident?

Care homes each have their own approach towards booking visits for family members to see residents so it is always best to contact the home directly to enquire. We can advise that many care homes have set visiting days and times and are trying to be as fair as possible whilst visiting is limited.

What safety measures are being put in place for visits?

To maximise the safety of residents, staff & visitors, many care providers have installed plastic/glass barriers in their visiting areas, separating the visitor and residents during their visit. Others have been installing temporary visiting pods in their gardens or organising designated areas in the home for visitors.

Care staff and visitors are required to wear PPE throughout visits to limit the risk of infection. All visiting areas are being religiously deep cleaned between each visit to minimize the risk of Covid-19 getting into the home.

Is there a chance of care homes closing to visitors completely again?

In the dreaded instance that an outbreak occurs in a care home, or a local lockdown is inflicted in the area a care home is in, care homes will need to respond quickly by ceasing visits to their home.

The government has advised that if an individual care home or group of care homes is/are considered as needing to cease visits to the home temporarily or permanently, the Director of Public Health will communicate this advice in writing to Commissioners or Registered Managers of all said care homes, who will then advise friends & family members as soon as possible.

A recovered outbreak is defined as 28 days or more since the last suspected or confirmed case reported.

If a resident is receiving end of life care, will exceptions be made?

In the case that a resident is the recipient of end of life care, care homes have been told that they can deliver a personalised approach, ensuring that they make every effort where safe to allow a dying resident to have their loved ones with them particularly during their final hours.

What visiting alternatives are care homes putting in place?

Thankfully, many care providers are already prepared for the instance where residents are unable to physically see their loved ones. Many homes have invested in tech devices for their residents to video call their relatives on, a great means of keeping in touch and keeping residents' and their families spirits up.

Are care homes using NHS Test & Trace?

Care providers are being asked to support NHS Test & Trace by keeping a temporary record inclusive of address and phone number of current and previous residents, staff and visitors. Therefore, it is highly likely that visitors will be required to comply with NHS Test & Trace upon arrival to see residents.

Admissions Q&A

**Please note that this information was last updated October 2020**

Do new residents have to sheild upon arrival at a care home?

Care providers are required to have a 14-day sheilding policy in place for new residents who have come from hospital or another care facility regardless of their Covid-19 test result. The only exception is if the new resident has already undergone 14 days of sheilding at another facility inline with government guidance.

Is a negative Covid-19 test result required before a prospective resident can be admitted into a care home?

Care homes require all new admissions to have had a Covid-19 test result prior to their admission to the care home to ensure that they can enforce the correct safety measures.

If a care provider has received a request to accept a resident from hospital who has been confirmed Covid-19 positive, they will need to alert their Local Authority to let them know. They will also need to advise their local authority if they assess that they are unable to safely isolate the prospective resident or if they are unable to manage their needs as a result of other challenges such as staff shortages.

The government are working on a designation scheme with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for premises that are safe for people leaving hospital who have tested positive for Covid-19 or are awaiting a test result.

Are you looking for a care service for your loved one? We can help!

Share this article