We would like to express our apologies for the confusion regarding visits to our care homes this week. We have received further communication from Somerset County Council and Public Health England (PHE) to state that as of Wednesday 2nd December, visits are able to continue, as long as certain measures are in place. This is in contrast to the news we received yesterday, which we can be viewed here.
Please see statement below received from Somerset County Council in relation to this;
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: CARE HOME VISITS
We very much appreciate the difficulties associated with care home visits, and remain very supportive of the need to maintain family contact. We unfortunately had to pause visits whilst we reviewed several significant outbreaks in care settings, and the data that identified that now over 20% of Covid-19 cases in Somerset can be linked to a care home.
We have worked with Public Health colleagues to pull together the following guidance to support a phased return to family visitation. From tomorrow, Wednesday 02/12/2020, visits can be undertaken within the national Tier Two Guidelines in the following circumstances:
- Visits may take place where COVID-secure arrangements such as substantial screens and visiting pods have been provided.
- Window visits may also be undertaken.
- Whilst outdoor or airtight visits are permitted within Tier Two, when available the rollout of rapid testing will enable indoor visits to be undertaken.
Care Homes should ensure that they have risk assessments in place to meet the new requirements.
We are over the moon with the U-turn taken by PHE and will work hard to ensure we can book in visits as usual. Please bear with us whilst we take the necessary steps to arrange this.
We have been working tirelessly to ensure each of our 27 residential settings have appropriate indoor visiting measures in place and can confirm that 23 are already complete. It’s been wonderful to see our residents enjoy spending time with their loved ones and friends in them. Look out soon for our artwork competition to really bring these spaces alive!
In addition to the governments planned roll out, we have also taken our own steps to introduce the Lateral Flow Test kits to support family visits in homes without an active outbreak. We will continue to plan for this in the hope we can put them to use, which would allow a resident a dedicated visitor to take the test, receive results within 15 minutes and, assuming it’s a negative test, be welcomed into the home. For the first time since March, visitors will be allowed to touch their loved ones and, although PPE will still be required, have a much better experience. We know this will likely be a wonderful and much needed boost for residents, friends and families alike, and hope that once safe to do so, we can roll this out to all of our homes. More details will be provided once safe to implement.
Inver House, our care home based on the Isle of Wight, is not subject to this change in visitation, as it is operating under Tier 1. Therefore, visitations can continue as outlined in our policies under the Adult Social Care Winter Plan 20/21.