Coronavirus - visiting guidance - Avenues Group

Coronavirus – visiting guidance

Friday 30th of July 2021

On 19 July 2021 most legal restrictions in England, related to coronavirus, were lifted.  

The vaccine programme has been highly successful in breaking the link between infection and serious illness. We have come a long way since March 2020, but there are still some outbreaks of coronavirus in care homes, with some residents unfortunately becoming very ill.  

We want to make visiting your loved ones as easy and straightforward as possible, while keeping them safe. Nothing can replace the care and love family and friends provide. We know the period of the pandemic has been a particularly difficult and emotional time for the people we support and, their loved ones and staff.  

This update is to set out Avenues process to ensure that we continue to keep everyone as safe as possible whilst maintaining social contact for the people we support and their loved ones.  

We will, where possible, promote visits in person. However, in the event that we have a confirmed case in a service we will suspend all visitors for a period of 10 days following the last confirmed case. We will continue to make use of technology and welcome the continued use virtual visits.  

You can find more in-depth information on the measures Avenues have put in place for Covid-19 in The Avenues Coronavirus Information Pack.

Dan Gower-Smith, Director of Operations

To arrange a visit, please read the guidance below and then call or email the service you wish to visit, or contact us for more information.

Update 19.07.2021

Key points:

  • All staff, including managers, will continue to wear PPE and practice strict infection control, as prior to 19 July. We, therefore, would appreciate your cooperation with those practices that remain in place, to keep everyone safe. 
  • A per government advice in areas affected by new Covid variants aim to meet outside where possible.
  • Unlimited named visitors will be allowed to visit Avenues residential services as per government advice.
  • We understand the difficulties these restrictions have raised, including care home staff, residents and their families, and are hugely thankful to everyone for their diligence in keeping to these tighter restrictions over this period.
  • Further information on preparing for a visit is detailed below.

Registered Care Homes

The key points of the guidance from 19 July are:

  • every care home resident can nominate unlimited named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits
  • to reduce the risk of infection residents can have no more than 2 visitors at a time or over the course of one day
  • The named visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests in line with the testing regime detailed below, should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain social distancing and follow all other infection prevention and control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
  • Children are included in the visitors numbers
  • Named 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 physical contact increases the risk of transmission. For this reason, there should not be close physical contact, such as hugging
  • to support effective infection prevention and control in care homes, named visitors:
    • should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests in line with their testing regime detailed below and produce a negative COVID test prior to their visit
    • should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain social distancing and follow all other infection prevention and control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits
  • care homes can also continue to offer visits to other friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows
  • Vaccination is not mandatory and is not a condition of visiting.

To arrange a visit, please call or email the service you wish to visit, or contact us for more information.

Before visiting

  • Prior to visiting you will be contacted by the Service Manager to discuss ways to support your visit.
  • Visits should always be booked in advance.

Arrival at a service, testing and precautions required

  • On arrival you will be shown to the testing area. If no testing area is available:
    • The visitors should use their car
    • If public transport has been used, the testing area should be agreed when booking the visit
  • The test, including consent form, will be passed to the visitor/s with the instructions. An Avenues competent trained employee can support the test if necessary. At the time of booking the visit please ask if this will be required
  • Full Care Home LFD testing of visitor’s guidance can be read using the link below:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-lateral-flow-testing-of-visitors-in-care-homes/care-home-lfd-testing-of-visitors-guidance
  • Please note, if a person or their family wish to purchase a private test from an approved supplier, Avenues will accept this as negative result. Avenues will not fund this purchase.
  • The test should be registered using a smart phone/tablet. If the visitor is unable to use their own, Avenues equipment can be used and will be cleaned after each use
  • On receipt of negative test:
    • Temperature check will be taken
    • Visitors declaration to be completed
    • Full PPE will be issued and should be worn at all times as detailed below. PPE should be worn during testing and throughout the visit.
  • In the event a positive test is received, the visit will not be allowed to go ahead. The person with a positive result will be issued with a PCR test (the regular full Covid-19 tests) by the service to administer themselves. The PCR test is to be left with the service who will arrange for a courier to collect that day by calling 119
  • The person with the positive test result should return home and self-isolate, avoiding public transport where possible.
  • Hands should be washed/ sanitised on arrival and departure
  • On arrival at the service you will also be required to complete a Visitor Declaration Form

The visit

  • The visitor should enter the space from outside wherever possible
  • The visiting space must be used by only one resident and visiting party at a time, and is subject to regular enhanced cleaning between each visit
  • Visiting can continue outside or in a well-ventilated room, for example with windows and doors open where it is safe to do so. Providers should consider the use of designated visiting rooms, which are only used by one resident and their visitor at a time and are subject to regular enhanced cleaning and ventilation between visits. Any areas used by visitors should be decontaminated several times throughout the day and providers should avoid clutter to aid cleaning.
  • Visitors should wear appropriate PPE as laid out in the guidance on how to work safely in domiciliary care in England
  • Visitors should 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.
  • Visitors should also be careful to ensure they observe strict social distancing from other residents, visitors and staff at all times.

Supported Living

Additional testing will also be provided to facilitate safer visits for residents in high risk Supported Living and Extra Care settings. There are no restrictions on the number of people individuals can meet.

Testing of visitors: 

Visitor testing is a tool to help mitigate the risks of visiting. Testing is not a requirement for visiting however  Avenues believe however that due to the vulnerabilities of the people we support that testing continues to be a requirement for all indoor or close contact visits.

It is important that visitors:-

  • Complete the visitor’s declaration form. We will require you to take your temperature.
  • Take a Lateral Flow Test (LFD) on the day of the visit. Testing allows us to maintain a balance between infection control and the vital benefits of visiting to the health and wellbeing for the people we support and their loved ones.
  • Wear a mask throughout their visit. This will help prevent transmission of the virus to others. Visitors do not need to wear aprons, gloves or eye protection, unless giving direct care.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, or use the hand sanitiser provided.

 To arrange a visit, please call or email the service you wish to visit, or contact us for more information.

Visits outside of the normal place of residency

Visits outside the normal place of residency follow government advice. For example ‘You should meet outdoors where possible and let fresh air into homes or other enclosed spaces’. People may wish to use regular rapid testing to help manage periods of risk, such as close contact in a higher risk environment, or when spending prolonged time with a more vulnerable individual.

Overnight stays

We require the person we support and their family in the household to complete an LFD test on the day of the visit. The person supported will also undertake another test on return.

To arrange a visit, please call or email the service you wish to visit, or contact us for more information.

 

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