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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for families

Updated 19 July 2021

We are continuing to follow the latest advice and guidance as it is updated as restrictions are eased. We have robust procedures in place and the health and wellbeing of the people we support and our staff remains our highest priority.

We are working together with our services to keep abreast of rapidly evolving Government advice to minimise risks and ensure we are well-prepared for the challenges COVID-19 presents for us as a social care provider. We have adapted our practices in line with Public Health’s official guidance, and will continue to be guided by the valuable information about the virus being provided by Government and public health bodies.

Lifeways has the skills and culture to respond to these challenges. We continue to have business continuity plans in place for every service that will support the uninterrupted delivery of care and support. We are working together with our partners on ways in which we can support one another to adapt to changing needs and priorities to help staff who continue to provide support across the country. 

We are still taking referrals and are still carrying out assessments, and continue to place people in our services according to the relevant government guidance and risk assessments. If you have any queries please contact the Enquiry, Referral and Assessment Manager that you usually deal with.

Visits to our services

As all services are now able to have visitors, how this is supported will be based on latest Government guidance relevant to the area and service type i.e. England, Scotland and Wales, and the appropriate risk assessment being completed. There will be some individual cases where visits may be ceased for a short period due to positive Covid-19 case but you will be informed of this by the relevant manager.

We are wholly committed to ensuring that we keep all the people we support, our colleagues and visitors as safe as possible.

(England) Whilst guidance on PPE is changing for the general public we will be continuing to follow Public health guidance so you will see our colleagues wearing PPE. We are also asking all visitors to continue to wear PPE to minimise any risk of transmission.

(Scotland/Wales) Current PPE requirements remain in place.

Please also continue to follow enhanced infection control procedures, these may include:

  • Handwashing/sanitising on arrival, regularly during your visit, and before you leave
  • Taking your temperature on arrival
  • Wear PPE – including masks
  • Being asked to take a Lateral Flow Device test (LFT)
  • Maintaining social distancing – particularly in communal areas
  • Supplying information about recent travel history and whether you have had any symptoms or exposure to anybody with symptoms – if so you may be refused entry.
  • You should also try to come prepared with tissues, to catch, bin and kill any germs from sneezes/coughs during your visit.

Families & Carers

We know this is a particularly difficult time for families and carers. If you have particular concerns about the measures we are taking to support your relative or loved one, please do not hesitate to contact their service directly.  The team will do their best to keep you updated and informed.

As the Government advice in England, Scotland and Wales is evolving. It is important if you wish to arrange a visit that you contact the Service/Home Manager who can undertake the relevant risk assessment and discuss with yourself if the visit is possible and how it will be facilitated to ensure everyone continues to stay safe and in line with guidance.

We are continuing to do everything possible to support routines for individuals in order to alleviate the stress of the current situation and are providing guidance to all colleagues on a range of activities that they can undertake in the service to keep people occupied, entertained and positive during this time.

Our dedicated teams are demonstrating great resilience and determination to continue to deliver support. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our fantastic front line colleagues; they are going above and beyond to make sure people are reassured and safe during this unprecedented time.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for families

Updated 19 July 2021

At Lifeways we are absolutely committed to keeping the people we support, colleagues and visitors as safe as possible. In light of the recent Government advice we have made some necessary changes to our services, and wanted to let you know. We continue to update this and review arrangements as guidance changes and there are easing of lockdown restrictions.

Our teams are working hard to make these difficult circumstances as manageable as possible with activities taking place within our services supporting the well-being and mental health of the people we support.

Will services allow visitors?

We know how important it is for people to continue to see their families and friends therefore all visits to services will be based on the appropriate risk assessment being completed and in line with latest Government guidance which is as follows:

England – From 19th July 2021

Whilst lockdown restrictions have eased again and there are no longer limits on how many people can meet you should contact your local manager to clarify arrangements. Visitors will be asked to wear PPE including masks and follow current infection control measures in order to minimise risks.

People living in Residential care homes:

There are no longer restrictions on how many visitors someone has at anyone time.

Guidance sets out the government’s advice to support safe visiting:

  • every care home resident can have ‘named visitors’ who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. There is no limit on the number of ‘named visitors’ that a single resident can have and no nationally set limit on the number who can visit in a single day

  • every care home resident can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs. The essential care giver should be enabled to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak (but not if the essential care giver or resident are COVID-positive)

  •  named visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum (excluding essential care givers). Physical contact like handholding is acceptable if hand washing protocols are followed. Close personal contact such as hugging presents higher risks but will be safer if it is between people who are double vaccinated, without face-to-face contact, and there is brief contact only

  • care homes can also continue to offer visits to friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows.

Visitors will be given a swab test in the Registered home and should get the results in around 30 minutes or less. (The Government do not currently recommend that children under the age of 11 participate in regular asymptomatic testing. If a test is to take place for a child, it should be done with their consent and that of their parent or guardian, and following the appropriate steps in this guidance on how to test a child.)

If you receive a negative test you will be able to spend time with your loved ones there and then without the need to social distance and you can hold their hand but there should be no close physical contact such as hugging, appropriate PPE (Children aged 11 and over should wear the same PPE as adult visitors. Children under the age of 3 should not wear masks, for safety reasons.) and the following of other infection prevention control measures will still be required. Once this visit is over you will need to repeat the test prior to each subsequent visits.

If there is an outbreak the Registered Manager will be in contact to discuss visits during this time.

Summary of guidance for visitors - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Arrangements for visiting out of the care home

Opportunities for care home residents to make visits out of the home – whether for a few hours or overnight – are an important part of care home life.

People are now also able to partake in activities outside of the care home that will not require self-isolation.

These include but are not limited to:

  • overnight visits with family/friends

  • outdoor visits to parks, beaches or gardens

  • medical appointments (except where they involve an overnight stay in hospital)

  • visiting day centres

  • attending educational settings

  • going to work

Where a care home is situated in a local community with high, or rapidly rising, levels of infection, and/or where there is evidence of variants of concern or variants under investigation, care home managers will need to seek additional local advice from their local authority DPH. Therefore please contact the care home manager before planning any trips away from the home.

Arrangements for visiting out of the care home

Wales – From 17 July 2021

From 1 July, Wales moved to alert Level 1.

This means,

  •  Up to Six people will be allowed to meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.

  •  There is no limit on the number of people who can meet up outdoors.

  •  You can form an extended household with no more than 2 other households and they should stay the same.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Topic | GOV.WALES

People living in Residential care homes:

  • two indoor visitors may visit at the same time. They should socially distance if not members of the same household or extended household

  •  visits should, where possible, take place in a designated room to avoid visitors moving around the building. Ideally the designated room is close to the entrance of the building, and well ventilated

  • visits may take place in people’s rooms, if a designated room is not available. The window should be open, wherever possible, to ensure adequate ventilation

  • indoor visitors will be subject to testing

  • visitors should wear face coverings on entry to the home

  • visitors may remove face coverings once seated, if: ◦ they are socially distanced from residents visits are in a well ventilated room and that room is either a designated visiting room only being used by one family at a time or the residents own room

  • visitors should wear PPE where there is likely to be more significant close contact with the resident, and particularly when there is an increased infection risk i.e. during an incident or outbreak. Providers should provide PPE in these circumstances, and support visitors to wear safely

Indoor visitors will be subject to testing and following current infection and prevention control measures.

Window visits, outdoor visits and screened visits can also continue.

People living in care homes will no longer be required to self isolate following an overnight visit to a private home or elsewhere.

Visits to care homes: guidance for providers [HTML] | GOV.WALES

Scotland – From 19 July 2021

From 19 July Scotland moves to Level 0.

This means:

  • up to eight adults from four households can meet indoors at home, and up to 10 can meet in a pub or restaurant.

  • up to 15 people from 15 households can meet outdoors.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) protection levels: what you can do - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

People living in Residential care homes:

Can continue with indoor visiting for up to two visits per resident per week (and up to two designated visitors). One person should visit at a time and undertake a rapid test (Lateral Flow) in the home before the visit. If you receive a negative test you will be able to spend time with your loved one, physical touch should also be supported when a fluid resistant surgical mask is worn by the person visiting, as are brief hugs or embraces.

When care homes assess it’s safe to do so, indoor visiting will increase. This might involve, for example, residents having daily visits with 1 person at a time, or 2 or more designated visitors meeting with residents daily.

Multiple loved ones will also be able to visit residents at once. The number of visitors will be in line with wider coronavirus restrictions around meeting indoors and practice factors in the care home.

Window and garden visits are also able to continue.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Guidance for visiting loved ones in an adult care home | NHS Scot inform

Please be prepared for enhanced infection control procedures, these may include:

  • Handwashing/sanitising on arrival, regularly during your visit, and before you leave

  • Maintaining social distancing – particularly in communal areas

  • Being asked to take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT)

  • Being asked to wear PPE

  • Having your temperature taken on arrival

  • Supplying information about recent travel history and whether you have had any symptoms or exposure to anybody with symptoms – if so you may not be able to visit and should seek further advice.
  • You should also try to come prepared with tissues, to catch, bin and kill any germs from sneezes/coughs during your visit.

If you would like to arrange a visit to the service or would like to know more about the current visiting arrangements, please contact the service/Registered manager. You may be asked to book your visit in advance in order to minimise the number of people within a person’s home at any one time.

General questions:

Is my relative or friend still being supported? 

We are providing the same support as usual whilst observing the latest guidance including on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

How will my relative or friend be supported if they are self-isolating or feeling unwell?

Our teams continue to support people in line with government and public health guidance. If anybody we support begins to display symptoms of Covid-19 we will ask them to self-isolate and support them to get a Covid-19 test. Where people lack capacity to consent to the test we will take a multi-disciplinary approach. If people test positive they will be supported to self-isolate for 10 days.

If someone is in a shared service and another person, they live with tests positive we will ensure people are supported to self-isolate in line with guidance.

Where someone is following self-isolation, all staff and tenants / residents will be informed. A thorough risk assessment will be undertaken and this will take into account the person’s capacity and understanding of what isolation means.

Follow this link to read more about what to do if you are experiencing symptoms: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

What happens if there is a confirmed case in a service?

If there is a confirmed case in one of our services, we will immediately notify the next of kin and continue supporting the individual. The risk level of staff and other tenants or residents will be assessed, and self-isolation guidelines will be followed. Infection control will be increased and the individual’s symptoms will be closely monitored.

We may also need to temporarily cease all non-essential visits to the service.

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

Please feel free to get in touch with your usual Lifeways contact who will help with any further queries.

 

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