Covid Visithing Policy

The first priority in relaxing visiting restrictions to The Elms Care Centre will remain preventing infection and introduction of COVID 19 to the care home. In the event of an outbreak at The Elms Care Centre and/or evidence of community hotspots or outbreaks leading to a local lockdown, we reserve the right to rapidly re-impose visiting restrictions to protect our vulnerable residents, staff and other visitors.

The following considerations and precautions will be taken into account:

  • even where in-person visits are permitted, alternatives to in-person visiting will be actively explored, facilitated and encouraged, such as the use of telephones or video
  • although central Government advice is that there will be open visiting to care homes, we have taken the decision that each resident can continue to nominate five people for regular visits – as agreed with the Elms Care Centre, in order to limit the overall number of visitors to the care home and the consequent risk of infection. It is important that the named visitors remains the same as far as possible. (This is due to the increasing rates of infection in the local community and the potential high numbers of staff who may have to self isolate. Staff isolation may put pressures on staff within The Elms facilitating visits to the home )
  • these visitors will be encouraged to complete a lateral flow test prior to arrival at The Elms Care Centre
  • those unable to complete a test prior to a planned visit to the Elms Care Centre will be tested on site using rapid lateral flow testing at every visit
  • if the visitor tests positive they must immediately leave the premises to go home to self isolate, avoiding public transport wherever possible. They must follow government guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection and immediately self-isolate and complete a confirmatory PCR test which will be provided to them by The Elms Care Centre. This can be returned either through a courier or through Royal Mail priority post box.
  • Visitors testing at home must report all tests online at result and using the Unique Organisation Number (UON) of The Elms Care Centre. This can be provided by the care home Manager on request.
  • Visitors testing at home should supply confirmation of the test being completed and registered on arrival to the care home
  • Residents will be permitted to leave the premises in the company of one of the 5 named visitors without the need to isolate on their return, provided they do not go into any high risk indoor area whilst away from the home
  • Visitors wishing to escort a resident away from the home should provide evidence of a negative lateral flow test prior to leaving the home
  • visitors who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 should not routinely be retested within 90 days unless they develop new symptoms
  • the visitors must wear appropriate PPE visit and follow all other infection control measures as advised by the Elms Care Centre. This will continue to comprise of mask, gloves and aprons
  • visitors are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should be no close physical contact such as hugging because of the risk of infection
  • it is not a condition of visiting that the visitors or resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme.
  • all visits to The Elms Care Centre will be booked in advance – ad hoc visits will not be enabled
  • in line with test and trace guidance, we will maintain a record of any visitors to The Elms Care Centre as well as the resident they interact with
  • the Elms Care Centre will continue to enable visits in COVID secure ways, such as behind substantial screens in the visiting room, garden visits when weather permits and window visits
  • visitors to The Elms Care Centre will have no contact with other residents and minimal contact with staff (less than 15 minutes / 2 metres). Where needed, conversations with staff can be arranged over the phone following an in-person visit
  • visitors to The Elms Care Centre will be reminded and provided facilities to wash their hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the home, and to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and to clean their hands after disposal of the tissues
  • visits in exceptional circumstances such as at end of life will always be supported and enabled. These visits will be supported by lateral flow tests
  • in the event of an outbreak at The Elms Care Centre, visits will immediately be suspended (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life) to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors.
  • Outbreak restrictions will continue until the outbreak is confirmed as over, which will be at least 14 days after the last laboratory confirmed or clinically suspected cases were identified in a resident or member of staff in the home
  • all visitors to The Elms Care Centre will be screened for symptoms of acute respiratory infection before entering: no one who is currently experiencing, or first experienced, coronavirus symptoms in the last 7 days, will be allowed to enter the premises, nor anyone who is a household contact of a case or who has been advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Screening questions that will be asked upon arrival will include:
    1. Have you been feeling unwell recently?
    2. Have you had recent onset of a new continuous cough?
    3. Do you have a high temperature? A temperature check for all visitors will be taken prior to visits commencing, this is to provide confidence to both visitors and staff.
    4. Have you noticed a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell?
    5. Have you had recent contact (in the last 14 days) with anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or someone with confirmed COVID-19 – if yes, should you be self-isolating as a family member or as a contact advised to do so by NHS Test and Trace?
  • staff at The Elms Care Centre will ensure areas used by visitors are decontaminated several times throughout the day and clutter will be avoided to aid cleaning
  • visitors to The Elms Care Centre will be encouraged to walk to the home or use their own transport.
  • staff at The Elms Care Centre will discuss with visitors any items they wish to bring with them on their visit, such as a gift. It will need to be something that can be easily cleaned at The Elms Care Centre to prevent cross contamination. For example, flowers will be discouraged but a box of chocolates that can be sanitised with wipes will be allowed
  • Staff at The Elms Care Centre will support visiting by giving advice for residents and families prior to the agreed visit. This advice will cover issues such as:
    • support on how to prepare for a visit and tips on how to communicate if face coverings are required, for example:
    • speaking loudly and clearly
    • keeping eye contact
    • not wearing hats or anything else that might conceal their face further
    • wearing clothing or their hair in a way that a resident would more likely recognise
  • Staff at The Elms Care Centre will also provide reassurance to visitors, including that some people with dementia might struggle at first to remember or recognise them. We will endeavour to prepare the resident for a visit by looking at photographs of the person who is due to visit and talking to them about their relationship.
  • Visits to The Elms Care Centre are still being controlled and monitored on a regular basis and are subject to the specific circumstances of the home and those living and working within it.