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As care and nursing homes are a vital part of the frontline response to the coronavirus pandemic, supporting and protecting the NHS, we need to continue to care for people with symptoms safely.

We know that this has been a very worrying time for care home residents, their families and carers, as well as the staff in our homes.

The council has been strictly following Government and Public Health England infection control guidance in its care and nursing homes, as well as guidance around admitting people to care homes from hospital.

We have also been following national guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Visiting people in care homes

We have been facilitating indoor and outdoors visits to residents from their loved ones throughout the pandemic. If you wish to visit a loved one in one of our care homes, please call the home and speak to the duty manager beforehand to check what the current process is for that care home, as it may vary across different homes.

Visitors must continue to follow NHS health advice to minimise the spread of infection, including washing their hands when they arrive. You will be asked to have your temperature taken and to wear PPE throughout your visit.

We make sure that residents have the opportunity to phone or video call their families / carers to stay connected if visiting isn’t currently possible.

Following July 19 we will continue to enforce all the processes we have been following, for residents, staff and visitors, including: use of PPE, hand-washing, testing, enhanced cleaning and social distancing – unless we receive any government / PHE guidance to the contrary.

Frequently asked questions

What have you been doing to manage the spread of infection in care homes?

The safety and wellbeing of residents and staff in our care and nursing homes is of paramount importance to us.

We have been following Government and PHE guidance on infection control.

Steps we have taken include:

  • ensuring social distancing where possible
  • caring for people in isolation for 14 days when they are admitted to the home
  • using appropriate PPE
  • strict cleaning regimes
  • regular testing of residents and staff.

Infection control champions were appointed for each home at the start of the pandemic, supported by infection control nurses from NHS Solent. We are also supported by clinicians, including GPs, who provide advice and guidance on appropriate care for residents who are symptomatic.

What do you do when a resident shows symptoms?

Where residents have symptoms, they are cared for in isolation in their rooms to prevent the infection spreading to other residents and staff. The staff caring for them put additional measures in place, including using extra PPE.

We carry out twice-weekly testing for staff and whole home testing every month for residents. We are provided with extra test kits which allow us to test a symptomatic resident or staff member in between the routine testing if necessary.

Staff are well trained in caring for people with dementia and cognitive impairment who may be less able to report symptoms because of communication difficulties, and they are therefore alert to the presence of signs as well as symptoms of the virus.

Why have you been accepting admissions from hospital?

The discharge of people who no longer need acute hospital care during the coronavirus pandemic is specified in Government guidance, which we are following.

The Government is clear that people who not need acute hospital care must be discharged as soon as possible that day, to reduce pressure on the NHS. You can read the guidance here.

Both new arrivals and residents returning to the care home from hospital are tested for coronavirus 48 hours beforehand. We do not accept new arrivals if they currently have the virus, and current residents with coronavirus are cared for in isolation in their rooms for 14 days.

How have you been supporting families and carers during the pandemic?

We know this has been a difficult time for families, and we have been making sure they are offered appropriate support. This has included calling families and carers with regular updates on how their loved ones are doing, as well as having dedicated wellbeing staff available to provide wellbeing support for families and carers. Each resident is assigned a key worker who supports them to stay in touch with their family.

How have you been supporting care home staff?

Staff working on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic have been providing a vital service to our residents in challenging circumstances. Their safety and wellbeing has been of utmost importance.

Dedicated wellbeing champions have been in place for each council-run home so there has always been someone on hand for staff to contact for support.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

We continue to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to all council staff who provide personal care to residents, including in adult social care, children’s social care, substance misuse and homelessness work.

We have our supply chain system set up to ensure we always have adequate PPE for all of staff, as well as offering this to any care providers in the city who need it. We follow the national guidance for use of PPE to make sure the stock is properly allocated and only goes to staff who need it.

July 19 - stage four of the government roadmap

We are awaiting guidance from government for care homes after 19 July, and will update this information once we know more.

Unless we receive any guidance to the contrary from the government / Public Health England, we will continue to enforce all the processes we have been following, for residents, staff and visitors, including: use of PPE, hand-washing, testing, enhanced cleaning and social distancing.