At St Mary’s Court Care Home with effect from 12th April 2021
These visiting protocols are intended to complement and not replace all the great work that the activity team are doing in facilitating virtual visits.
There are no restrictions in terms of contact by telephone or from personal computer devices.
In special circumstances, such as at the end of life, these visiting protocols will be eased. All special arrangements are discussed sensitively and agreed on an individual basis.
Whilst vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory for either care home residents or their visitors, Sonnet Care Homes strongly recommends that all adults obtain the vaccine when it is offered.
We are really pleased to confirm that we now have the option to test visitors for COVID-19 immediately prior to their visit. There is a 30 minute waiting time for the result, and if the test proves negative, there is the option for visitors and their loved ones to hold hands. All visiting plans are individualised, with Sonnet Care Homes overarching protocols and procedures for visits that include a test, being available on request.
More information can be found at:
For all types of face to face visit, the protocols may be summarised as follows:
- Visits that take place inside are restricted to a maximum of two constant visitors plus a baby or toddler
- For all other types of visit, the maximum number of constant visitors is restricted based upon individual circumstances and can include older children
- The number of visits per resident are limited to one a week, with a maximum duration of 30 minutes
- Any discussion with a member of the team should be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes with social distancing and PPE rules observed. We welcome follow up telephone calls
- Visits are supported and supervised by a member of the team only if indicated in the resident’s individual visiting plan
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be required when within 2 metres of any resident, member of the team, or other visitor
- All visitors will either be asked to use antibacterial gel, or be required to wash their hands thoroughly before putting on PPE
- Visitors will be asked a series of screening questions to confirm their COVID-19 and travel status
- We will check visitor’s temperatures on arrival
- We reserve the right to stop the visit if either a potential visitors health on the day, or their answers to the screening questions, give us cause for concern
- We will agree a person-centred individual care plan for visits for each resident (see My Visiting Plan)
- In order to comply with test and trace rules, we will record the details of all visits
- All visits are appointment based
- For visits that include an LFD rapid test, visitors are required to consent to the test
Types of Visit
Visits may occur in a number of ways as follows:
- Window visits
- Drive through visits
- Garden visits
- Visiting room visits
- In-room visits
- Visits following a negative LFD rapid test result
In practice we have found over the past year that window visits and drive through visits are not popular, though details can be provided and arrangements made upon request.
The protocols for the visit types most commonly chosen are as follows:
Visits which include an LFD rapid test:
With effect from 8th March 2021 government rules have been eased to allow one constant visitor to visit a care home resident subject to a negative LFD rapid test. These have been called ‘Indoor’ and/or ‘Close contact’ visits, but neither of these descriptions is entirely accurate and the actual guidance now received can be summarised as follows:
- All physical contact increases the risk of infection
- A negative LFD test is not a guarantee that a person does not have COVID-19
- Because of the above physical contact should be kept to a minimum and, whilst hand holding is allowed, hugging is not permitted under the new guidance
- Full PPE and adherence to all the previous infection control rules and protocols is still required
- These visits may take place inside in a pre-designated area, or in the grounds
- The key differences are that there will not be a screen between the resident and their visitor when inside, and that people can be within 2 metres of each other when outside
To manage the rapid tests safely and efficiently, the following will apply (also see procedure for further details):
- The visitor will wait in their vehicle in a designated parking space and a member of the team will come to them to conduct the test
- The visitor remains in their vehicle. Once 30 minutes has elapsed a member of the team will return to confirm the result
- If the result is positive, a confirmatory PCR test will be provided, and the visitor then leaves site to self-isolate under government test and trace rules
- If the result is negative the visit can proceed with the visitor wearing a PPE face mask, disposable gloves, and a disposable apron
- The visit may take place in the garden weather permitting, a designated area of the home or, in exceptional circumstances only, the residents’ room. These details will be agreed when the visit is arranged
- Separate arrangements for LFD rapid testing will be pre-agreed with visitors who do not plan to arrive in their own vehicle
Visiting with children
With effect from 12th April 2021 government rules have been eased to allow two constant visitors, plus a baby or toddler, to visit a care home resident inside subject to a negative LFD rapid test. These have been called ‘Indoor’ and/or ‘Close contact’ visits, and the guidance may be summarised as follows:
- Any visits involving children will be carefully discussed with the resident and their family. The arrangements for the visit, in particular the numbers involved and where the visit will take place, will be planned and agreed in advance of the visit.
- Visiting children (other than the very young) should be able to follow IPC measures. This will include social distancing, PPE use (where appropriate), and advice on minimising physical contact.
- Any children visiting (apart from babies and very young children) will be counted towards the maximum number allowed for the visit.
- For visits including babies and very young children we can agree to exercise some discretion, but in general a child under the age of 2 need not be counted as an additional visitor.
- As is the case with visitors of all ages, there will be no close physical contact between babies or children and the residents they are visiting.
- Children aged 11 and over will wear the same PPE as adult visitors. Children under the age of 3 do not wear masks, for safety reasons.
- Children under the age of 11 do not need participate in rapid testing.
- Garden visits:
PPE measures and social distancing will apply. Only garden areas that are visible and can be accessed without entering either home can be used for garden visiting. Seating will be arranged prior to the visit
Designated areas within each home have been prepared for indoor visits:
Perspex screens are installed in a designated visitor room in each home. Visitors will access the room via an external door, whilst the resident will enter through an internal door. On the visitor side, screens and all hard surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned between each visit. Seating will be available on either side of the screen and visitors can replace their PPE face mask with a clear plastic visor whilst they are in the room if they wish
Whilst we need to keep this type of visit to a minimum, for residents who are unable to leave their rooms we are able to facilitate room visits. A negative LFD rapid test result will be required, PPE must be worn, and social distancing requirements apply.
Visitors must please:
- Obtain vaccination against COVID-19 as soon as they become eligible
- Contact the homes Administrator to book visits in advance
- Refrain from attempting to book visits which are more frequent than agreed, or longer than 30 minutes duration, unless there are special circumstances (which will be known by, and have been agreed with, the team)
- Comply with requirements regarding the maximum number of constant visitors
- Be free of any COVID-19 symptoms on the day of their visit and for at least 14 days previously
- Not be unwell on the day of the visit
- Provide the required information in response to COVID-19 screening questions
- Comply with all infection prevention and control measures, including a temperature check, hand hygiene, the use of PPE, social distancing requirements, and remaining in the designated visiting area
- Where possible, ensure that any items bought in for the resident can be sanitised
- Note that all items bought in that cannot be sanitised will need to be stored for 72 hours before they are given to the resident
- Spend no more than 15 minutes talking to any member of the team, and always observe social distancing and PPE rules when talking to any person face to face
- Avoid travelling to the homes via public transport and taxis. If this is unavoidable, please wear a PPE face mask at all times during the journey, bring a change of clothes, and advise the care home team on arrival
My Visiting Plan
In consultation with the resident and their potential visitors, as appropriate, the team will develop an individual visiting plan for each resident
The plan will take account of individual support needs, preferences, and abilities
The plan will also describe the type and frequency of visits specific to each resident
The names and any special circumstances of the agreed visitors will be included in the plan
Rights and responsibilities
Below is a set of rights and responsibilities for both Sonnet Care Homes and visitors which aim to put the welfare and wellbeing of residents at the heart of our visiting arrangements during the pandemic.
|Sonnet Care Homes have the right to:||Visitors have the right to:|
|Mitigate risk of infection by refusing entry to their home to anyone, or requesting that a person leave the premises, for any justifiable reason consistent with published visiting arrangements||Access care home in accordance with the entry requirements set out Sonnet Care Homes visiting arrangements|
|Suspend all social visits when an outbreak (including non-COVID-19) occurs within the homes, or if instructed to do so by the local Director of Public Health, with the exception of visits to people at the end of life||Be notified by timely and regular updates and information about what is happening in the home in relation to visiting.|
|Be provided and supported with additional ways to connect such as video conference or telephone calls in addition to a limited number of in-person visits.|
|Sonnet Care Homes have a responsibility to:||Visitors have a responsibility to:|
|Provide a clear policy and information on how they will facilitate visitors, making this publicly available as needed.||Follow the home’s visiting protocols and Visitor Code, including booking in advance.|
|Provide clear information about how the visit will work and the infection and prevention control measures that must be followed.||Not to visit when unwell or displaying any signs of a cold/flu, respiratory or Covid-19 symptoms.|
|Appropriately support the care home team in order to facilitate visits including written processes and procedures.||Respond truthfully to Covid-19 screening questions asked by the home’s team and to sign the completed screening question sheet.|
|Treat all visitors with respect and courtesy, and to provide clear instructions about the visiting policy.||Treat all team members with respect and courtesy, and to follow their instructions on the visitor policy.|
|Proactive communication with residents and families where an outbreak occurs, and the impact on the visiting policy.||Follow visiting requirements including, infection and prevention control measures such as washing hands, use of visiting windows, remaining designated areas and social distancing requirements – as directed by the care home team – and that failure to do so may affect the future ability to visit|