12th April 2021: Avery Care Homes are Now Open
We are delighted to inform you that Avery care homes, in line with government guidelines, are now getting back to some semblance of ‘normal’. There are three main areas that relatives and new enquiring families have been waiting to hear about:
- Meet the Manager
New enquirers can now book a face-to-face meeting on-site at the home with the Home Manager or home team to discuss your loved ones’ needs. Virtual tours have been very useful during the pandemic but we know that getting a feel for the home is more important to you. From 12thApril 2021, a nominated person or family member can make an appointment to meet the Home Manager and team in person.
- 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
We are delighted that visiting restrictions are lifting and there are now more opportunities to visit your loved one. The guidance for safe visiting from 12th April 2021 is as follows:
- Your loved one can nominate up to 2 named visitors who will be able to enter our homes for regular visits (and will be able to visit together or separately as preferred) plus children and babies. Adult visitors will be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures during visits.
- 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.
- In addition to their 2 named visitors, residents with higher care needs can also choose to nominate an essential care giver.
- we 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.
Visits out of care homes
As we are aware resident visits outside of the care home was stopped as part of the National Lockdown. We understand how important it is for residents to enjoy time outside of the care home and how this is an important part of their everyday life, particularly to visit family and friends along with community venues. However, we must remember that even with vaccine coverage increasing there are still risks involved in visits out. It is therefore important that steps are taken to mitigate and manage any risk.
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.
- On return to the care home the resident will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- 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.
20 minute Covid-19 antibody test for relatives
We have spoken to many families during the pandemic and we know that one of your biggest concerns about moving your loved one into a care home was not being allowed to come to the home on the day of admission to support your loved one with moving in.
The Covid-19 20 minute antibody tests are now available and we have invested in stock for every home to help make yours and our new residents’ settling-in day more like it used to be before the pandemic struck. Relatives will still be required to wear PPE and must follow our strict protocols, but we are pleased to be offer this simple test to help families and provide reassurance.
How does the 20 minute antibody test work?
The test is a finger-prick blood test which will be conducted within the home at the time of admission. The test quickly indicates whether a person has antibodies which are produced when the body has been infected with Covid-19. If we are satisfied with the result of the test you can join your relative in their bedroom to help unpack and enjoy the settling in process that is such an important part of joining a care home.
A Safe Haven For Your Loved One
Our homes continue to be open for new residents, with virtual tours available for families wishing to know more about the service when making their selection.
We are in a fortunate position to be not solely dependent upon the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for the provision of tests, and are carrying out our own tests on a regular basis at all of our homes, with support from one of just three UK laboratories that is Government authorised to undertake this.
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. This is still important when residents are returning from hospitals or are new to the home. 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.
Book Your Visiting Time
Relative visiting has been an important objective and journey we have been on since the start of the pandemic. We started with garden visits and quickly moved to in-home visits when government allowed and where homes could accommodate the space. Since then, all Avery care homes now offer in-home visits and an established visiting booking system that is working well.
We will continue to provide updated statements on changes and progress, and these can be found on our Latest News page.
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. Staff are tested weekly, and are sent home to isolate if symptomatic between testing cycles. All residents are tested monthly and are supported to isolate if symptomatic between cycles.
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