- The Trust
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- Independent Living
Updated April 2021
Here at Amica Care Trust we strive to keep all of our residents and staff as safe as we possibly can throughout these unprecedented times, and we have always sought to enable visitors to see their loved ones in line with the Government Guidelines. Not only have we invested in providing visitor pods to enable visiting to continue through the height of the pandemic, but we are now pleased to be able to facilitate one designated visitor for each resident and from 12 April, two designated visitors for each resident.
We operate a booking system in all of our homes to enable us to support each visit in the safest way we can, all visitors will be expected to undertake an LFD test which takes 30 minutes, prior to the visit commencing, as well as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). To enable all residents who want to have visitors this opportunity, we do have to limit each visit to one hour, but I am sure you will understand this.
Please be assured that we operate COVID secure homes and have robust COVID-19 protocols in place which are updated in line with the Government Guidelines.
If you wish to visit your loved one please contact the home directly to book an appointment.
If you wish to bring a gift, this will need to be quarantined for 72 hours before the resident can receive it.
We are working closely with the Local Authorities, Public Health England, CCGs and Government advice to ensure that any risks of COVID-19 are well managed and people are protected.
We have robust COVID-19 protocols in place, staff have received training and we have adequate supplies of quality Personal Protective Equipment.
All of our homes are open to new residents and we welcome any enquiries if you are requiring support to care for your loved one. Please contact the home directly for up to date information.
Policy Statement Visiting during a Pandemic
Document Date: 03 April 2021
Document Owner: Operations
Approved By: Operations Manager
Date Approved: 03 April 2021
Review Date: 06 September 2021
The policy aims to ensure safe visiting during the COVID-19 pandemic and the easement on visiting those who are vulnerable as a result of the sustained transmission of the Corona virus.
The policy thus aims to minimise the risks to residents’, the employees of the Trust and to the visitors themselves, the Government has released guidance and this policy outlines out compliance with the dynamic risk assessment approach.
Amica Care Trust’s Care Homes and services have a duty of care to protect its residents and staff from intruders and anyone who threatens their safety and security.
This policy is to be used in conjunction with the visiting and visitor’s policy and the COVID 19 Testing policy.
The policy is also in line with Care Quality Commission guidance, the Department of Health and public Health England.
This policy is intended to assist decision making during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is anticipated to last for a sustained period, compared to the usual period for other infectious outbreaks. As we see other parts of our community experiencing a small degree of easement of the lockdown rules in England, it is important to recognise that for those in our care settings, there is a need to balance the continued management of COVID-19 risk, with a cautious approach to enabling the opportunity to receive visitors, the prevalence of this is highlighted again with the new strain of the Covid-19 virus and the known enhanced spread of the virus.
Closure of the home to visitors
In certain circumstances the management of the home may decide to close to all visitors as they have always done so in the interest of safeguarding residents; this could be due to an infectious outbreak such as:
During these times the home will operate a traffic light system Red, Amber or Green
As a result of the global pandemic all the Trust services have previously been closed to all visitors as residents are classified as extremely vulnerable and have been shielding on the advice of the Government.
In order to ensure the residents safety, it had been necessary to limit visiting to open spaces such garden visits at these times when the homes were unable to accommodate in door visits, these visits have been important for the emotional wellbeing of the residents in our care.
Human rights recognise that all people living in care settings have the right to freedom of movement and association, including the right for residents to see their families.
This policy and guidance seeks to balance the rights of an individual with the rights of the others within the care setting (residents and staff) and the duties and responsibilities of Amica care Trust.
The Trust will work within the guidance set out by the Government which states:
The decision on visiting will be based on the advice from the director of public health, as well as any additional advice or guidance from the local infection-control lead from the CCG, and the local PHE HPT.
Role of providers and directors of public health (DPH) in providing a dynamic risk assessment
The priority is making sure those in care homes receive the care and support they need. This includes making sure that residents are not put at avoidable risk of contracting COVID-19, which can have such a devastating impact if it spreads through a care home, infecting vulnerable residents and potentially care staff.
Therefore, in order for visits to happen, the provider needs to assess and balance the risk of local prevalence and the ability of the care home to manage the visit safely. This dynamic risk assessment must formally take into account the advice of the local DPH. The DPH may choose to provide this through a dedicated care home outbreak management team or group, often in partnership with local social care commissioners.
The role of the DPH includes formally leading efforts to suppress and manage outbreaks, and the local outbreak plan (overseen by the DPH) includes care homes. DPHs also have powers to issue directions to homes to close to visiting, or to take further specific steps.
Care homes must also take into account the significant vulnerability of residents in most care homes, as well as compliance with obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998, as applicable.
The care home’s visiting policy is made available and communicated to residents and families, together with any necessary variations to arrangements due to external events.
In the event of an outbreak in a care home, the home will rapidly move to stop visiting (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life) to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors. There may be local policy and outbreak management arrangements, which will be important to follow. These restrictions may continue until such time as it is understood that the outbreak has been brought under control and the care home has recovered – at this point visiting may be restarted but with the usual infection prevention and control measures and any enhancements required due to any risks identified following the recent outbreak.
In making their judgement the director of public health should consider as a minimum:
In addition, in making their decision about visiting policy, providers and the director of public health should, where possible, consider:
In order to enable visits to happen safely it is vital that the DPH has a live view of the local conditions. The Capacity Tracker is a timely and rich source of information which will help inform the DPH’s advice on visits. Completing the Capacity Tracker daily will help provide assurance and early warning if there were to be an outbreak, as well as helping to provide confidence on regular reporting and that any new cases would be rapidly reported to the local PHE Health Protection Team.
Visits should always take place with appropriate infection-control precautions.
Types of visiting
The Trust’s services have engaged in a variety of visiting options which have included:
All visits have and will continue to have the to follow the visiting code / guidelines
The Trust continues to adopt the current Government guidance, which is based on the following principles:
It will continue with its policy of:
Each service will risk assess their environment to be able to accommodate visiting in areas of the home, each service will also take the following measures.
If at any time visitors break the visiting protocol, they may be asked to leave, and a meeting arranged with the management of the home.
The health and wellbeing risks arising from the needs of our residents will be taken into consideration. This will include both whether their needs make them particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and whether their needs make visits particularly important (for example, people living with dementia, may be permitted visitors when restricting visitors could cause some of the residents to be distressed) each resident will have a care plan detailing visiting information / requirements and a risk assessment.
The Trust recognises that its visiting policy and arrangements will be very much subject to local circumstances and will have to be adjusted to meet any changes in these. These changes include:
Any arrangements made by the home will apply only when safe to do so, with the approval of the local Public Health authority and on the basis its “dynamic risk assessment”.
Its decisions will continue to be based on balancing the benefits to its residents (and reducing harm because of lack of visits) against the risks of increasing COVID-19 infections and their consequences to a vulnerable group of people.
The home recognises that decisions to allow visiting and under what circumstances will be made in line with local intelligence from testing on the community and of residents and staff, transmission risks in the local community and other information provided by the home, for example, through its Capacity Tracker updating.
Day of Testing:
All visiting professionals who are not regularly tested through another route such as NHS staff or CQC inspectors, should be tested on every visit in the same manner as visitors via the LFD test.
Under the present circumstances, the home recognises that all visits will have to be pre-booked and with limited availability some order of priority might need to be established.
It will base its priorities on the following.
The home will ensure that the visiting arrangements will be planned, including times, frequency, and duration, and agreed in consultation with residents and their families and with professionals involved in a person’s welfare.
Visitors will need to be tested on entry every time they visit the care home, regardless of the date of their previous visit
Communicating with Families and Visitors
The Trusts homes will follow Government guidance in respect of enabling visits to be conducted safety and successfully, including supporting visitors on how to prepare for a visit, including where testing is being carried out.
The Trusts homes accepts that the arrangements for each set of visits will vary and need to be highly individualised.
When visiting our care homes as an agreed “essential visitors” we will still ask you to:
We are confident that with these precautions in place we will be able to keep our residents safe.
The home will update this visiting policy in the light of further developments and the easing of restrictions as the risk decrease. It will, however, return to a tightening- up if there are further cases of COVID-19 in the home or evidence of increased risk from community transmission that has been identified by local Public Health.
Ability to suspend visiting
In the event of any suspected or actual outbreak of COVID-19, or a suspected or known case of COVID-19 within the home / service, visitor restrictions may need to be immediately implemented which suspend some of these enabling approaches and will include exclusion of any non–essential visitors. (this includes any contractors visiting the home).
This will be implemented in a transparent manner with open and clear communication to residents and relevant family members; this could mean that a visitor will be turned away if a suspected case has come to light during the time it has taken them to travel to the home.
Rights and responsibilities
This policy includes the rights and responsibilities for both Amica Care Trust and visitors which put the welfare and wellbeing of residents/ people receiving care at the heart of the approach when developing this visiting policy.
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 this policy / protocol.
Access care homes in accordance with the entry requirements set out in the visiting policy of the care setting.
Consider increased visitor restrictions when an outbreak (including non-COVID-19) occurs within the home or declared outbreak / clusters have occurred within the home's local area or if there are other extraordinary circumstances that require it, and usage of 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.
Amica Care Trust has the responsibility to
Visitors have the responsibility to
Provide a clear policy and information on how they will facilitate visitors, using a dynamic risk-based approach, and make this publicly available as needed.
Follow the home's visiting policy 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 staff to facilitate visits including written processes and procedures.
Respond truthfully to COVID-19 screening questions asked by the home's staff and to sign the checklist / visitor.
Treat all visitors with respect and courtesy, and to provide clear instructions about the visiting policy.
Treat all staff 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 staff – and that failure to do so may affect the future ability to visit.
The Trust will have the right to change and adapt this policy in line with Government guidance at any time.
Visitors have the right to express their concerns through the Amica Care Trust complaints and concerns policy.
The Trust will not accept liability for any illnesses the visitor may contract following a visit to its services including COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
Amica Care Trust services will request that visitors complete the questionnaire and give consent provided by the services and this is a true and honest reflection.
Each of the Trust’s services will keep a visitor log in line with the Track and trace initiative.