Indoor visits at our care homes in Dorset and across England (updated 7 January 2021)

Published: Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Family visits to our care homes in Dorset and across the country are treasured by our residents and care teams. We are therefore supporting the Visiting Call to Action campaign for a more flexible and enabled approach to care home visiting.

During the COVID-19 pandemic we are working hard to make sure that we balance how much we love welcoming people to our care and nursing homes with the need to protect people and limit the risk of infection.

While we pride ourselves on providing high-quality affordable care at our homes in Dorset and across England, you cannot put a price on the safety of residents and our teams. That’s why we continue to adhere to the latest Government guidance on care home visits.

We were also proud that one of our care home workers was the first person in Dorset to have the COVID vaccine and are hopeful now that our care home residents are starting to be vaccinated.

Please call your care home to discuss visiting arrangements

We have written to the relatives of our residents to update them on the current situation and invite them to call to arrange a visit. Calling the home is the best way to find out the latest visiting status and to help you arrange a visit.

Visits are based on a strict protocol and risk assessment that take into account the individual circumstances of each home. Now we are again in another national lockdown, it is safest to follow the Government’s stay at home guidance.

All visits will require full PPE and a Lateral Flow Covid Test (LFT). We are able to supply PPE and ensure it’s used correctly and with the testing.

Depending on the individual circumstances, the visit may be in a substantially screened visiting room or in the garden / through a window.

Indoor visits will only be possible in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life.

If the home has any positive cases of Coronavirus, visiting will be suspended until they are all-clear (except for exceptional circumstances, such as end of life).

Guidance for family visits to our care homes in Dorset and across England

Government guidance for testing visitors:

  • Rapid (lateral flow) tests for family visitors have been distributed to care homes. When you telephone the home to arrange a visit, you will be informed of the test process
  • Visitor numbers will be restricted to a maximum of two to limit the number of different people coming in and out of our care homes, and therefore the risk of infection although on calling the home people will be told how many visitors they can accommodate for those residents receiving end of life care

Visiting arrangements

  • In exceptional circumstances, visitors with a negative test result, wearing appropriate PPE (face covering, gloves and apron) can come into the home to visit their relative. Testing does not completely remove the risk of infection, so social distancing and good hygiene should continue to be observed. If the person you are visiting is in the extremely vulnerable group, we can provide you with medical grade PPE
  • You will be asked to consent to having a COVID test and sharing the result with us. You will be asked if you would like to do the test yourself, or have a trained member of staff do it for you. The test consists of a nasal swab and the results can take 15 to 30 minutes, during which time you will be asked to wait outside or in the dedicated testing area
  • Should your test result return positive, you will not be permitted to enter the home and will be advised to go home and self isolate. You will be advised to inform close contacts you have had and follow government guidance
  • Care home workers will ensure visiting areas are decontaminated regularly and between visits
  • Visiting arrangements will be discussed with you when you call for an appointment. We have dedicated visiting areas with a substantial screen and good ventilation. Visiting areas can only be used by one resident and visitor at a time so it is essential you telephone for an appointment
  • You will be asked to complete a short form with your contact details, plus a health screening questionnaire. The Government guidance says we must support the NHS Test and Trace system and should confirm the health of anyone visiting the home. The health screening questionnaire will ask if you are well, if you have been in contact with anyone with or suspected of having coronavirus, whether you have a temperature or a cough or whether you have noticed any recent changes in your sense of smell or taste
  • Use our hand hygiene facilities when you arrive at the care home and before you leave
  • Limit your visit to one hour. It’s really important that you arrive on time for your visit so our appointment system can work smoothly, and you have the maximum amount of time possible with your loved-one
  • Keep 2 metres from your loved-one. We know people will want to hug and kiss, but this is for everyone’s protection
  • Leave flowers at home. Any presents you bring in will need to be something we can easily quarantine and clean

care home visit with perspex screen

If following your visit you have any comments or questions about your visit, or about your relative, please call to speak to the manager or a member of the care team rather than stay in the home for a face to face/in-person discussion.

We hope you will understand that if a resident or member of the care team tests positive for coronavirus we will need to suspend family visits immediately until the home is COVID-free and our local health protection unit gives us the all-clear. This is to protect our residents, our team and you.

Virtual visits

We are still offering Skype and FaceTime calls as well as phone calls and our residents enjoy receiving postcards, greetings cards, letters or emails that can be passed on.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new arrangements for family visits to our care homes, please get in touch with your care home manager.

For more information on any of our care homes, please call 0808 256 6038.