Dear Friends and Family,
Below is the latest situation at the home regarding visits. We have been able to relax restrictions significantly in line with current Government guidance, and our below policy reflects the latest Government guidance. Your safety and that of our residents and staff is of utmost importance to us.
The Team at Greensleeves Residential Care Home
Visiting Policy incl. Covid-19 (Based on Official Government Guidance)
Greensleeves Residential Care Home
Last revised date: 04/04/2022 Review date: On-going
Access inside the care home
Contact with relatives and friends is fundamental to care home residents’ health and wellbeing and visiting should be encouraged. There should not normally be any restrictions to visits into or out of the care home. The right to private and family life is a human right protected in law (Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights). Where visiting is modified during an outbreak of COVID-19 or where a care home resident has confirmed COVID-19, every resident should be enabled to continue to receive one visitor inside the care home. End-of-life visiting should always be supported, and testing is not required in any circumstances for an end-of-life visit.
Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19, are fully vaccinated and have received their booster. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.
Precautions for visitors
Some residents may need support with personal care from a visitor with whom they have a close relationship. Visitors who are providing personal care should wear appropriate PPE and have a negative COVID-19 lateral flow test result from a lateral flow device before entering a care home, unless medically exempt. Care homes are being provided with tests to support this. If these visitors attend once or twice a week, they should only test on that day (testing can be completed at home or on site). If they visit more than twice a week, they should test a maximum of twice weekly, 3 to 4 days apart.
Visitors providing personal care should show proof of their negative test result prior to entry. This may be an email or text from reporting the result, a date stamped photo of the test cartridge, or any other proof. If they are not able to produce a negative test, they may be asked to reschedule. Care homes do not need to retain records of proof.
In addition to negative test results, care homes should ask all visitors to wear face masks, in addition to other PPE, if they are providing personal care to ensure visits can happen safely. This should be based on individual assessments, taking into account any distress caused to residents by use of PPE or detrimental impact on communication.
Care home residents will no longer be asked to isolate following high-risk visits out of the care home (including following emergency hospital stays) and will not be asked to take a test following a visit out.
Health, social care and other professionals may need to visit residents within care homes to provide services. Visiting professionals should follow the same advice as in the section above on visiting precautions. PPE usage is recommended in line with guidance above. NHS staff and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors should be testing regularly as set out below. Any other visiting professionals should be tested with tests provided by the care home if they are providing personal care, as per the guidance for visitors providing personal care.
Care homes can ask the NHS professional when they were last tested. The professional should provide evidence of a negative rapid lateral flow test within 72 hours to show they are following the NHS staff testing regime. This may be an email or text from reporting the result, a date stamped photo of the test cartridge, or any other proof. If the individual has not been tested within 72 hours (or is unable to provide proof) and it is not possible to test prior to entry, the care home will need to make a risk-based decision regarding whether to permit entry, taking into account the reason for and urgency of the visit.
In emergency visits such as a 999 response, it’s not appropriate to ask for proof before entry to a care home, given the potential delay this could cause and the implications for prompt management of the emergency situation. Further guidance is given below.
Where the manager makes a risk-based decision to allow entry of someone without evidence of a negative test, all IPC measures must continue to be followed to mitigate the risk, including correct use of PPE, cleaning, ventilation and distancing.
It should be noted however, that all NHS professionals visiting care homes must follow the NHS testing regime and be testing twice a week.
The majority of NHS professionals will be using rapid lateral flow testing for their regular testing regime. However, if a professional falls under a different NHS testing regime which uses PCR or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) testing, the individual will also need to demonstrate that they are testing in line with NHS policy for that testing technology. Given the importance of NHS staff testing regularly to ensure the safety of their patients, and the role of care home managers to keep their care homes safe, if care homes have any problems with NHS staff not following this policy, they should contact their CCG chief nurse.