Explaining Our Policy Regarding Visitor Restrictions

Lockdown measures are now being eased, gradually, across much of the UK. This is a positive step forwards, but as we have explained in recent communications we are not quite yet in a position where we feel it is safe to ease restrictions on visits to our care homes.

You will of course be well aware that COVID-19 poses a particular threat to older people, and those with underlying health conditions, and as such we cannot run the risk of exposing residents to the virus.

We understand fully how upsetting it has been to have had to go so long without seeing your loved ones, no one wants this.

In the coming weeks we will be constantly assessing the situation to determine when it will be safe to allow limited visits, under controlled conditions.

As a valued family member, we want to explain the criteria we will be reviewing to determine when it is safe to permit visits.

The decision to allow visits is based on evaluating the following parameters. No single metric will determine if it is safe, instead we will look to take a balanced approach to risk, and always err on the side of caution.

1. Local infection rate

We are reviewing the latest hyper local infection rate data from the NHS and NHS Scotland to determine how prevalent COVID-19 is in the local community. If the infection rate is high that clearly poses a greater risk to residents, particularly as up to 50% of people can have the virus asymptomatically.

2. Confirmed cases in the home

If there are any confirmed cases in the home this would mean it would not be safe to host visitors.

3. Length of time since the last confirmed case in a resident or staff member

If there has been an outbreak in a home, but it has now ended, we would need to allow 4 weeks' of time without any subsequent infections.

4. Staff members

We need to be sure that our colleagues are fully aware of the protocols and comfortable with them. We also need to ensure that there are enough colleagues available to facilitate visits safely.

5. Safe visitation arrangements are in place

We have a plan to facilitate safe visitation and this includes: identifying a safe access and exit route; ensuring that the equipment required is in place and sanitised, ensuring that all visitors are symptom free (temperature checks); communicating our protocols to all visitors and procurement of additional PPE supplies.

In advance of implementation of the visits and subject to the above criteria being met, we will write to you to confirm any processes such as how visits can be arranged or scheduled and confirmation of guidelines and restrictions. 

Once again, we trust that you understand our robust approach to protecting our residents, colleagues and of course yourselves and we are making every effort to make this happen as quickly as we can.