Indoor visits at our care homes in Dorset and across England

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.

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.

Sunny days throughout the summer meant all our gardens, from Chalgrove Care and Nursing Home in Dorset to Rochester Care Home in Kent, were the perfect spots for socially-distanced garden visits.

Indoor visits at our care and nursing homes

Now we’re into autumn, outside visits are more likely to be affected by the weather and cooler temperatures. So we were pleased that on 21 September the Government updated its guidance on visits to residential care homes in Dorset and across the country.

Local Directors of Public Health are still required to assess risks based on their local knowledge of the spread of the virus and its impact in the area. We also need the additional agreement of the Clinical Commissioning Group and Infection Control Lead.

Indoor visits are based on a strict protocol and risk assessment. We have written to the relatives of our care home residents to update them on the situation and invite them to call to arrange a visiting appointment.

Then the care home team will be able to let them know if there have been any changes to the local Director of Public Health’s risk assessment and whether they can go ahead and arrange a visit.

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

The guidance states that:

  • We need to restrict visitors to the same family member visiting each time. This is designed to limit the number of different people coming in and out of our care homes, and therefore the risk of infection
  • We cannot welcome family groups and children under 13 years at the moment

When visiting, we will ask you 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
  • Wear your own face covering (face mask). If the person you are visiting is in the extremely vulnerable group, we can provide you with a medical grade face mask, disposable gloves and apron
  • 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

During indoor visits we’ll be restricting visitors to set areas, such as a dedicated communal space or the resident’s bedroom. When you call to arrange your visit you will be informed of how to enter the home and where visiting can take place.

We will ask you not to spend longer than 15 minutes in communal areas where other residents and staff are present.

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 rapidly until the home has been COVID-free for 28 days. This is to protect our residents, our team and you.

Virtual visits

If you are unable to visit in person, we are still offering Skype and FaceTime calls.

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.