COVID-19 Update

Updated Visiting Guidance (31/01/22)

This guidance sets out the government’s advice to support safe visiting. Each of our homes have slight variations to how visiting is managed, so please check with the Home Manager or reception when booking your visit.

Nominated Visitors

From Monday 31st January 2022, there will be no limit on the number of visitors allowed into the care home to visit a resident, however at Hythe Care this will be at the Home Managers discretion, so please mention this when booking your visit.

Every care home resident can choose to nominate an essential care giver (in addition to their named visitors) 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)

Visits in the care home

Visitors should make arrangements with care homes in advance of the visit, so that care providers can manage the number of people attending at any one time to ensure safe visiting practices can be maintained taking into account the size and layout of the care home.

Visitors should receive a negative lateral flow test result and report it on the day of their visit, either by conducting the test at home (preferable) or when they arrive at the care home – essential care givers need to follow the additional testing arrangements outlined below

Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and 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

Visitors who are not legally required to self-isolate are advised against visiting the care home (for 10 days) if they have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, unless absolutely necessary, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Where visits do occur, visitors should have received a negative PCR test result prior to their visit, and a negative lateral flow test result earlier in the day of their visit

Physical contact should be enabled to help health and wellbeing, as long as IPC measures are in place, such as visiting in a ventilated space, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the visit, and hand washing before and after holding hands – gloves are not needed for handholding and stringent adherence to hand washing is advised residents should be supported to undertake visits out of the care home as appropriate

Visits out of the Care Home

Care home residents who have had 2 doses of the vaccine, or are exempt from vaccination, should not have to isolate after most visits out of the care home, but should take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days following the visit out.

Care home residents who have not received at least 2 doses of the vaccine, and are not exempt from vaccination, should not go on visits out of the care home unless they isolate for 7 days after the visit out. This is a necessary precaution following clinical advice considering a more transmissive variant of COVID-19.

There are certain types of activity where the risks are inherently higher and the advice is that, in these cases, the resident should self-isolate for 14 days on their return to the care home regardless of their vaccine status. This is to ensure that, in the event they have unknowingly become infected while out of the home, they minimise

There are certain types of activity where the risks are inherently higher and the advice is that, in these cases, the resident should self-isolate for 10 days on their return to the care home regardless of their vaccine status. This is to ensure that, in the event they have unknowingly become infected while out of the home, they minimise the chances of passing that infection on to other residents and staff. These activities are:

  • emergency stays in hospital – as they are higher risk than an elective admission
  • visits assessed to be high-risk following an individual risk assessment by the care home

Outbreak in the home

In the event of an outbreak in the home, subject to a risk assessment by the health protection team (HPT), outbreak controls may be lifted if 14 days have passed since the onset of symptoms in the most recent case, a round of PCR recovery testing of all residents and staff is undertaken, and there are no PCR positive results.

Vaccinations

Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection. The COVID-19 vaccine significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after 2 or more doses. It is strongly recommended that residents and visitors receive 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, plus their booster especially in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant. The data shows that booster doses are required to provide higher levels of protection against symptomatic infection. If eligible, visitors should also get their flu jab when it is offered to them.

Anyone who is fully vaccinated, and has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, does not need to self-isolate if they receive a negative PCR test result and take daily rapid lateral fow tests until 7 days after their last exposure to the positive case

Becoming and Essential Care Giver and undertaking LFT and PCR testing

For some residents a visit with a greater degree of personal care may be central to maintaining their immediate health and wellbeing.

In such cases, in addition to the single named visitor and with the agreement of the care home, the visitor will be enabled and supported to provide this care and they will be able to visit more often. They will have access to the same PCR and rapid lateral flow testing and PPE arrangements as a member of care home staff.

Each resident will be different, and the exact arrangements will need to be agreed between the care home, resident and their family (with professional support if helpful). This should follow an individualised assessment of the resident’s needs.”

Should you feel this is an approach to visiting and spending time with your loved on that you would like to explore will you please contact the home manager to discuss the specific needs of the resident and your desire to be more involved in their person care on a regular basis.

5. End of Life Visiting in exceptional circumstances

We have been facilitating such visits throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so.

We will communicate with you as early as we can when we believe that your loved one is reaching the final stages of their life and we will give you the opportunity to spend more personal time with your loved one at this stage.

To enable this to happen safely for the benefit of everyone all the standard rules of visiting above will need to be applied and additionally we require you to undertake a LFT prior to entering the home. At the discretion of the home manager, the visiting will not be pre-booked, there will be no time limit on the visits and there will be no limit to the number of visits you may have during this time.  

We reserve the right to refuse entry to any visitor if there are any signs of symptoms and/or there is a refusal to co-operate with the arrangements and requests we have put in place to safeguard everyone at this difficult time. Your understanding and cooperation is appreciated. Thank you.

To accompany this policy the following are also attached.

  • The LFT guidance and instructions
  • The pre-entry to visiting questionnaire that should be completed prior to each visit.
  • The visiting slots available through each week.

Additional Information for 3. Personal Contact visiting with prior LFT.

  • Please ensure that you have read the LFT test guidance information provided:
  • At the care home you will be provided with 2 sessions of training on how to undertake the test if required.
  •  1st session will be supervised support taking you through each stage of the test process and recording of the result.
  • 2nd session will be overview watching you perform the test and record the result independently. On each of these occasions if the test result is negative a visit may proceed. Each training session may take at least 45 minutes and could be up to 1 hour.
  • Due to the lack of available free space within the home, the length of time the tests take and the use of LFTs in other settings (such as schools for pupils over the age of 11) we require the visitor to undertake the regular tests at your home, prior to arriving at the care home for your visit. You will need to bring the result cartridge with you.
  • The result will then be recorded by you on your phone or on a computer or tablet. This is part of the responsibility and you really ought to be able to undertake this function independently if at all possible. If you are absolutely unable to undertake this action the home will record the result within the following 24 hours.
  • You will be provided with an initial supply of 25 LFT kits (less the 2 training kits).
  • A negative result produced from a LFT is NOT A GUARANTEE that you do not have COIVD-19. All other infection control measures have to be carried out alongside the test.
  • If you produce a positive result from the LFT you must not go to the care home but inform them of the result. You must inform NHS Test and Trace and you should arrange to have a PCR test to confirm the LFT result.

For more information on our latest visiting guidance visit our news section: https://www.hythecare.com/latest-visiting-guidance/

COVID-19 Vaccine News (15 December 2021)

Progress has been excellent in Hythe Care with the NHS supporting our staff and residents to obtain both their doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccines and receiving Boosters.

Staff at Hythe View, Balgowan and Saltwood Care Centre have had the opportunity to receive the Pfizer Biontech (Pfz/Bnt) vaccine at William Harvey Hospital. Oaklands Health Centre in Hythe offered mass staff vaccinations of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca (Ox/Az)

We are very pleased to report that all eligible staff have now received their 1st and 2nd dose of the vaccine and will receive their booster.

We feel good progress has been made with vaccinations but we remain vigilant. The proactive response we have adopted has protected the safety and health of our residents and staff and kept the number of confirmed cases of Covid19 to a minimum. We hope and expect that we will be returning to more normal times again very soon.

Thank you

Paul Richards (CEO)

COVID-19 Response:

Existing Residents

  • We are continuing to provide the utmost care and support for the residents with as little disruption as possible 
  • We are taking the temperatures of residents twice a day as a monitoring check
  • Should we encounter a case or possible case of COVID-19 within the home full isolation and restrictive measures will be put in place for the resident in their location. Full PPE and cleaning measures will be employed (the same approach will be applied as in the case of norovirus or a winter flu outbreak)
  • We have a substantial stock of PPE to ensure our staff are as safe as can be carrying out their work

New Admissions

  • We will continue to admit residents from hospital subject to the hospital evidencing a negative COVID-19 test before admission within a reasonable timescale and the new resident must not be showing any COVID-19 symptoms. We will also consider residents who are recovering from COVID-19 who have served an appropriate time in isolation before entering the home
  • For new residents coming to us from residential settings or another care home we require a negative COVID-19 test result as part of the assessment process before admission
    • We have a supply of World Health Organisation approved PCR swab testing kits that we will require a prospective resident to take. The test will be supplied free of charge
    • If the COVID-19 test is positive the admission will regrettably be refused 
    • The test will be carried out by one of our qualified nurses and results made available within 72 hours of testing
  • All new tested admissions in accordance with PHE guidance will be monitored in self-isolation for 14 days as an additional precaution. A PCR test will be taken on the day of admission (day 0) and a further PCR test 7 days following admission (day 7). Daily rapid lateral flow testing until the day 7 PCR result has been received.

Staff

  • We continue to oversee staff to ensure that best hand hygiene practices are carried out
  • Staff temperature tests are available at any time to provide support and reassurance and we are undertaking mandatory testing on starting new shifts
  • We are rigorously enforcing the 7 day isolation period should staff show symptoms of COVID-19 and return to work if afebrile for 48 hours.
  • Staff are PCR (swab) tested weekly at all of our care homes and if found to be positive are immediately asked to self isolate
  • We are communicating with the staff teams frequently to appraise them of changing advice and guidance from Public Health England 
  • We have substantial supplies of full PPE for all staff to be used as required in Care Homes under the latest guidance from Public Health England
  • On 27 April Public Health England changed their advice on wearing masks in care homes. Our staff are now wearing masks to help further prevent any spread of COVID-19 within our care homes.

Suppliers

  • Please be aware that if you are visiting the home in any professional capacity, we are now required under law to have proof of your Covid-19 Vaccination status or proof of your exemption.  We will be unable to allow you entry to the home if you are unable to provide this information.
  • In general supplies continue to be received into the home in a timely fashion with gratitude to all our suppliers for maintaining in every way possible normal service

Thank you to everyone for your care, concern and support for our residents and staff

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