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Avery Healthcare Visiting Update

Following the government announcement regarding care home visiting, we are pleased to share some positive news.

Internal Visits

  • Your relative can choose 1 nominated person to visit them indoors, our teams in the homes will be discussing this with your relative and I am sure you will be discussing this amongst your family members too. Please note that where your relative is unable to make this decision, you as the family member or friend will need to decide between yourselves who the nominated person will be.
  • We are unable to change the nominated person unless there are exceptional circumstances, for example, illness. If the nominated person is changed, we are unable to change this person again.
  • Booking will be required as we are unable to facilitate unannounced visits, please be patient with the staff when contacting the homes as we expect the lines to be excessively busy.
  • The visit will take place in a designated room unless the resident is being cared for in bed, the visit can then take place in the resident’s room.
  • Lateral flow testing will be required, you will need to complete this test supported by a trained member of our team, refusal to take the test, will mean that the visit will not go ahead.
  • A wellbeing checklist will be completed each time you visit. The questions must be answered honestly and failure to answer the questions will result in the visit not going ahead.
  • The test will take place in the visiting room, you will then be required to wait 30 minutes until the test results are available.
  • You will be required to register your test results and will be supported by a trained member of our team to do this. Please note that we will require personal data to support the registration of the test which is:
    • Date of birth
    • Contact information including email address and mobile number
    • Gender
    • Ethnic group
    • Home address
    • The test kit results
  • All data will be handled sensitively in line with GDPR compliance.
  • Full PPE will be provided this will include – mask, apron and gloves and these items must be worn throughout the duration of the visit.
  • You will be guided on how to put the PPE on and take it off (donning and doffing) by a trained member of our team.
  • If your test result is negative, we will support your relative to the visiting room where you can spend private time with them. There will be a call system in place for you to use to access a member of the team.
  • There will be no screen in the room, however social distancing of 2 metres will be required as detailed in the government guidance.
  • Hand holding can take place but we must remind you that this does pose a risk of virus transmission, we respectfully ask that you avoid it if possible.
  • Hugging is not recommended in government guidance due to the risk of virus transmission and the vulnerability of the resident.
    The visiting time will be for 30 minutes, this does not include testing or wellbeing check.
  • The preparation and testing time will be for 45 minutes, you should therefore allow 1 hour and 15 minutes per visit.
  • Please ensure you arrive on time for your visit so the pre-checks and the LFD test can be undertaken, if you are late the visit may not be able to go ahead, if you arrive early you may wish to wait in your car until your allocated time.
  • Please do limit the visit to 30 minutes so that we can clean and prepare the room for the next visitor.
  • If your test result is positive you will be asked to leave and to access a PCR test locally and self-isolate. You must leave immediately and the visiting area will be decontaminated before being used by another visitor and resident.
  • If the test is inconclusive another test will be carried out and if the test is still inconclusive a pod visit may take place if there is availability, if not then you will be asked to re-arrange your visit.
  • You will need to provide your own refreshments.

Pod and Outside Visiting

The government guidance is welcoming on the ability to offer pod and garden visits.   The following process must be followed:

  • Booking is required for both pod and garden visits.
  • No testing is required for the pod and outside garden visits but wellbeing checks will be undertaken.
  • In homes where we have pods already installed, you will find they have a substantial screen that is clear from floor to ceiling. There is an intercom system and heating to provide comfort for you and your relative.
  • Two people can visit your relative in the pod at any one time, this is not included in the 1 nominated person who the resident or family have chosen for the internal visit.
  • This means that three people will be able to visit the resident, one indoor and two together in the pod.
  • Masks must be worn when in the gardens and grounds of the home.
  • If there is just one visitor with a resident in the pod, no mask is required. But if there are two visitors with a resident, then masks will be required.
  • Social distancing must be strictly adhered to and the garden visits will be monitored so that visitors can access support from team members.
  • The time allocation for both pod and garden visits will be 30 minutes.

Please note that if there is an outbreak in the home (2 or more people, staff or resident) testing positive, Public Health England (PHE) will close the home to all visiting other than exceptional circumstances for 28 days. This will also be extended if there are further positive cases in the home.

Please do remember that by keeping to the protocol set out above you will help us to maintain the safety of all in our care, including our staff. We are still at risk.  The second vaccine has only just started to be administered and then we have 21 days for it to take effect. We are also faced with new variants which also pose a risk.

Please bear with us. Undoubtedly you will all be wanting to visit your relative, but we do need to arrange this via an appointment due to the checks and testing that we are required to undertake.

Finally, we are desperate for you all to be able to visit the homes and reunite with your loved ones.  Whilst staff have been exceptional during these challenging times, they too miss you all, you are and have always made a contribution to our care home communities and we are excited about welcoming you all back.

The government guidance is clear that this is the first step to visiting, and if the data shows that the level of infection continues to show positive progress the guidance will be reviewed again no earlier than the 12th of April.  If the news is positive then we can expect two indoor visitors per resident.