St Mary's Court Care Home, Braintree, Essex

At St Mary’s Court Care Home with effect from 4th December 2020

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.

For all types of face to face visit, the protocols may be summarised as follows:

  • In line with government guidance visits are restricted to a single constant visitor, or an absolute maximum of two. This means that the same person/people visit each time. Where there are two people as designated constant visitors, they are be able to visit either together or alternately
  • The number of visits per resident are limited to once every two weeks, with a maximum duration of 30 minutes
  • All visits are supervised by a member of the team. This will be performed as discreetly as possible
  • With the exception of screened areas (see Types of Visit), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be required when within 2 metres of any resident or member of the team. The type of PPE will vary dependent upon the type of visit, but it will always be provided by Sonnet Care Homes on arrival. The main reason for us insisting that we provide the PPE is to maintain control over efficacy and storage, and to ensure it is single use
  • On arrival all visitors will be asked to use antibacterial gel and, if entering any area of the home, will be required to wash their hands thoroughly before putting on and removing PPE
  • Visitors will be asked a series of screening questions to confirm their Covid-19 and travel status
  • We will check visitors 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)
  • The reception area have a Perspex screens installed and the visitors electronic signing in book is located behind these screens. A member of the team will therefore need to sign visitors in and out. In order to comply with test and trace rules, it is essential that all visitors details are recorded
  • All visits are appointment based
  • Regrettably, it is not be possible to just turn up and visit a resident. This is because we must:
    • carefully manage the number of visitors on site at any one time
    • ensure that we have sufficient team members to support each visit safely
  • Regrettably, we will not be able to offer any drinks or refreshments to visitors and we are asking visitors not to offer drinks or refreshments to residents during visits. We can however provide residents with drinks and refreshments during the visit if needed

Types of Visit

Visits may occur in a number of ways as follows:

  • Window visits: This will need safe, ground floor window access for both residents and their visitors. Social distancing and PPE measures will need to be observed, and residents and visitors must not touch each other through open windows/doors
  • 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
  • Drive through visits: Visits whereby visitors remain in their vehicles can be facilitated in the car park. Social distancing and PPE measures will need to be observed, and residents and visitors must not touch each other through open windows/doors. The precise location of drive through visits will be advised in advance
  • Designated areas within each home have been prepared for indoor visits: Perspex screens are installed in a designated visitor room in each home. These rooms are ideally suited for maintaining a safe environment for visiting as there are two entry doors, one on either side of the Perspex screen.  To avoid having to walk through the home, visitors will access via an external door. The resident will enter through an internal door. On the visitor’s side, screens and all hard surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned between each visit. Seating will be available on either side of the screen. Social distancing and PPE measures will need to be observed
  • In-room visits: 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. PPE must be worn, and social distancing requirements apply. The visitor will be escorted to the resident’s bedroom by the most direct route. All hard surfaces will be thoroughly cleaned following each visit

Visitor code 

Visitors must please:

  • Contact the home Administrator to book visits in advance for a specific date, time, and duration
  • Comply with the requirement for there to be one, or an absolute maximum of two constant visitors
  • Refrain from attempting to book visits which are more frequent than every two weeks, or longer than 30 minutes duration, unless there are special circumstances (which will be known by, and have been agreed with, the team)
  • Check with the home on the day prior to their visit to ensure that circumstances have not changed and the visit can go ahead
  • 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 necessary information in response to screening questions about Covid-19 risk factors, including being able to confirm that they have not had close contact with anybody who has had symptoms or a confirmed case of Covid-19 within the past 14 days
  • Comply with all infection prevention and control measures, including a temperature test, hand hygiene, the use of PPE, social distancing requirements, and remaining in the designated visiting area
  • Ensure that where possible any items brought in for the resident they are visiting can be sanitised
  • Note that all items brought in that cannot be sanitised will need to be stored for 72 hours before they are given to the resident
  • Avoid travelling to the home using public transport including taxis. If you have no other means of transport, please let us know at the time you book your visit so that we can support as safe a visit as possible
  • Given the current guidelines for PPE and social distancing measures, regrettably younger children are restricted to drive through visits only

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
Consider increased visitor restrictions when an outbreak (including non-Covid-19) occurs within the home, or declared outbreaks / clusters have occurred within the home’s local area. Such circumstances will be closely monitored. Be notified by timely and regular updates and information about what is happening in the home, in relation to visiting and local Covid-19 prevalence and transmission risk.
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.


Sonnet Care Homes key contacts:

Julia Clinton, CEO
Sonnet Care Homes

Terri Pike, Home Manager,
St Mary’s Court

Jane Sadowski, Home Manager,
The New Deanery