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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

The Government’s latest guidance on visiting and testing in care homes can be viewed here. You are no longer required to book a visit to the or take any tests. You are however required to wear a mask in all areas of the home including bedrooms. We ask that you avoid visiting the home in you are symptomatic or have tested positive, or have signs or symptoms of any other transmissible disease.

Essential care-givers are required to test twice-weekly as per staff-testing, and will require full PPE while supporting their loved one with personal care. This PPE will be supplied by the care home.

Please try to avoid visiting during mealtimes unless you are an essential care giver. Mealtimes are particularly busy and it is important to give residents the privacy and dignity to eat unobserved.

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

Frequently asked questions

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

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. We continue to provide and use 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.

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.

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 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. We can accept new arrivals if they currently have the virus, at the discretion of the registered manager following a risk-assessment, but COVID-positive residents will isolate in their rooms for 5 days or until testing negative.

What happens if there is an Outbreak?

We continue to have an obligation to inform the Health Protection team if two or more people (resident and/or staff) test positive for COVID-19 in the home

In the event of two people testing positive, the Health Protection team will advise us on what precautions to take. This could be a closure until the outbreak is over – however it is not always realistic to close a whole home if two people test positive, so Health Protection are taking a pragmatic approach and allowing homes to continue to open via a risk assessment.