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Dear Friends,

We have understandably had a number of enquiries about what the implications of the move to a 4th Tier of restrictions, and the fact that Portsmouth has been put into that tier, will be for the Home.

As yet we do not have any news for you I am afraid, as there has been no new guidance, or anything I can find in any press release or government statement about residential care settings.
Our best guess – though I should stress that we may be wrong – is that the restrictions themselves probably won’t mean much change to visiting at the Home. For some time now care home residents have been considered a special case and we expect that to continue. In practice disruption to visits is more likely to result from the rise in local infection rates, especially amongst people who are over the age of 50, and the very significant pressures on our local hospital, both of which are things we have kept under continual review as part of the dynamic risk assessment we are required to have in order for visits to take place.

It is our fervent hope that our residents will be able to continue to have visits and we will be doing everything we can to keep our current process going for as long as possible.
In order to do so we absolutely must comply with the letter of the current guidance, and so if you are visiting us this week please expect us to be extremely vigilant.  It feels uncomfortable to be asking you to make sure you wear your mask and to sit behind a screen, just as we feel strange being unable to offer you refreshments or give you a hug as we would in 'normal times', but it is important that we are able to show that our planning, paperwork and practice are as they should be if we are to have the backing of our Director of Public Health to remain open for visits.
It would break our hearts to have to ask a visitor to leave the Home especially at this time of year, so we ask you to understand that we must act for all of our residents. At any time we could be made to close our doors due to an incident of non compliance, or an outbreak, so please make sure that you understand all aspects of our current policy (we will give you a copy at the start of your visit) and help us to make sure it is being followed.

This is a very sad day for all of us as our plans for Christmas are put on hold, and we realise many of you will be anxious about potential changes here also. We do not know what new guidance will bring, or indeed when we will get it, but we will let you know as soon as we have any news.
We will also be doing our utmost this week to make the festive period as special as we can for all of our residents. We have been sent a huge number of Christmas cards, many of which have come from local school children, and are able to access some amazing looking streamed theatre and music events which are being made available to care homes free of charge.
The support we have had from you all and from our local community means a lot to us and although we may not be able to see our families we will be proud to come to work and celebrate here. We are hopeful that it will not be too long before the vaccination program makes it possible for the Home to be filled with friends and family members again.

Wish best wishes to you all,
From all of us at the Home of Comfort.
 
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Links if you would like to read further:
Care Home Visiting Guidance
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes
Home of Comfort’s Current Visiting Policy
http://www.homeofcomfort.org.uk/Doc043_Policy_on_Visitors.pdf
Information about the approval of the Pfizer Covid19 vaccine for use in the UK
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-medicines-regulator-gives-approval-for-first-uk-covid-19-vaccine
JCVI Priority Groups Vaccination guidance
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-2-december-2020
New Scientist explainer on vaccines (which includes a neat little video on vaccines in general)
https://www.newscientist.com/term/how-do-vaccines-work/
National Winter Plan for Adult Social Care
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-social-care-coronavirus-covid-19-winter-plan-2020-to-2021/adult-social-care-our-covid-19-winter-plan-2020-to-2021
Sign up to these newsletters (and join our facebook group if you wish) here
http://www.homeofcomfort.org.uk/ComfortContact.html
And our past newsletters are here
https://us19.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=da695e314a9372030956baedf&id=339c3e4c13
 

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