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Outbreak management

Care home visits - updated 07/01

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted. Residents cannot meet people indoors on a visit out (for example, to visit their relatives in the family home). There is separate guidance for those in supported living.

Care Provider Incident Room (CPIR)

Email: phnorfolkomc@norfolk.gov.uk

Telephone: 01603 223219

Use CPIR to report outbreaks and incidents of COVID-19 among your client populations and/or staff teams.

See the GOV.UK website for COVID-19: infection prevention and control

Visiting residents in care settings - updated 13/01

Please read the below in conjunction with information on visiting care homes during COVID-19 on the GOV.UK website updated 12/01/2021.

The government guidance states that for visiting to take place care providers must ensure that:

  • The setting is free from COVID-19 (i.e. not under outbreak conditions or with symptomatic staff or residents), and
  • They have undertaken a risk assessment, identified means to mitigate against risks and set out how safe visiting will be achieved

These dynamic risk assessments should be in line with government guidance and based on the specific circumstances and needs of the individual care setting, considering:

  • The well-being and safety of residents and staff
  • The external COVID-19 environment, including the amount of infection in the local community
  • The significant vulnerability of residents

Where can visits take place?

  • Outdoor visits should be the mainstay of visiting, a 2 metre distance between resident and visitor should be maintained at all times
  • Visiting in a visiting pod – a dedicated structure separate to the main care home with a substantial screen between visitor and resident
  • Window visits 
  • Telephone or video calls

Where visits do take place there are practical measures to mitigate any risks:

  • No one who is positive for COVID, has COVID symptoms or is a close contact with COVID should visit a care home
  • Visitor numbers should be limited to a single constant visitor for each resident
  • Social distancing (between visitors and residents, staff, and visitors from other households) must be maintained at all times – during the visit, and around the care home building and grounds
  • Appropriate PPE must be used throughout the visit, and around the care home building and grounds
  • High-quality IPC practice must be maintained throughout the visit and through the wider care home environment
  • Only a single visitor and resident should use a visiting pod at one time
  • Cleaning and disinfection of visiting pods should be carried out after each use
  • Booked appointments – restricting the number of visitors in the setting at any one time and preventing ad hoc visits
  • Maintaining a record of visits/visitors in line with test and trace requirements
  • Advising on transport to and from visits, including advising against the use of public transport or vehicles shared with persons from outside the household
  • Restriction on gifts brought into the home

Exceptional circumstances

Visits in exceptional circumstances such as end of life should always be supported and enabled. For full guidance see section 2.2 'Exceptional circumstances such as end of life’ on the GOV.UK website.

Providers will need to act in accordance with the government guidance and stay up to date, as the guidance may be periodically updated.

If you have any questions, email nwccg.cpir@nhs.net 

Who will this apply to?

  • Residents who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 may need to be excluded from these new visiting arrangements. This may include those with existing respiratory conditions or suppressed immune systems. This will need to be balanced with the benefits of visiting to their overall well-being
  • Consideration must also be given to the well-being needs of residents and the benefits of visiting and an individual risk assessment and must balance the benefits to residents against the risk
  • Visiting should be limited to a single, constant visitor per resident
  • Booking procedures must be in place – no ad hoc visits should be allowed
  • Visitors must be free from COVID-19 (or other) symptoms and must be screened before entering the home

Where visits do take place there are some practical measures to mitigate any risks:

  • Strict observation of social distancing - 2 metres apart
  • Physical visits to be time limited – 15 minutes
  • Face coverings should be worn with alternative considered were this may cause distress to residents
  • Use of partitions/screens may be a viable option
  • Single visitor for each resident
  • Booked appointments – restricting the number of visitors in the setting at any one time and preventing ad hoc visits
  • Maintaining a record of visits/visitors in line with test and trace requirements
  • Dedicated entrance/exit routes for visitors
  • Provision for handwashing/hand sanitiser
  • Cleaning and disinfection of resident’s room/dedicated visiting room immediately prior to and after the visit plus access corridors and touch points frequently during visiting period
  • Advising on transport to and from visits, including advising against the use of public transport or vehicles shared with persons from outside the household
  • Restriction on gifts brought into the home, advising against those that cannot be sanitised e.g. flowers

Providers will need to act in accordance with the government guidance and stay up to date, as the guidance may be periodically updated.

If you have any questions, email nwccg.cpir@nhs.net

Stopping the spread of coronavirus

Social distancing rules apply to us all – including people whose job requires them to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider the example set by your staff whilst working in public or publicly visible spaces (eg when in the grounds of your service or in the community) and the potential for police involvement if they fail to observe social distancing rules. The Council expects services it commissions and staff delivering those services to observe legal obligations at all times. See Coronavirus information.

Our Coronavirus toolkit includes posters on social distancing, responsible shopping and daily exercise which you may find useful in your services.

Staff movement between care homes

COVID-19 and staff movement between care homes - 3 July 2020

Healthcare professionals - access to residential and nursing homes

We appreciate that providers have restricted visitors to their residential and nursing homes. We would expect that healthcare professionals who need access to their patients during this time are able to continue to have access. Please ensure your effective infection control processes enable safe access. This also applies to staff who are part of the equipment service; delivering, installing, maintaining and collecting equipment. They have all received the appropriate training and have PPE to enable them to carry out their role safely.

Safeguarding

Safeguarding, locality and Quality Assurance teams may also require access to your service to follow up a section 42 safeguarding enquiry. A risk assessed and pragmatic approach is being adopted to avoid attending but it may be necessary. All colleagues will observe appropriate infection control protocols.

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