Visits in 'Step 2'
This is a brief message to let you know that we now have the government guidance setting out in detail how Step 2 of the Covid Spring Plan changes things for care homes.
There aren’t many changes, but there we do have some questions that are not covered in the guidance so we will be glad to hear how our local care home support team interpret it.
We know that residents will be able to nominate a second person to make close contact visits, but we’re not sure yet whether those people have to be part of the same household in order to visit at the same time, given that it isn’t possible for people to meet indoors until Step 3. We also know that children can visit if they are nominated as one of the two people and we have a good deal of guidance around how children should be tested.
As soon as we are clear that we understand the new rules, we will revise our policy and risk assessments accordingly and be in touch to update you all.
The guidance does say that we are still required to test every visitor on site (for reasons connected to the regulatory approval of the tests we are using), but that the government is exploring ways to give us more flexibility on this. That would be very helpful for Home of Comfort as the number of visits we can manage is limited by the time the tests take to carry out (because it uses staff time and we haven’t got a lot of suitable places for people to take them).
Most encouraging are these sentences: “Government aim is that by the summer, care home visiting will feel as relaxed and normal as possible – retaining only those infection prevention and control measures that are needed to protect the most vulnerable residents from the risk of infection.” We don’t know what measures might be considered necessary, but we hope this indicates we can expect a significant relaxation of the requirements on care homes at Step 3 and Step 4.
It’s been a busy week for us as we also have new Infection Prevention and Control guidance to work through, but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
From all of us at the Home of Comfort.
Links if you would like to read further:
Guidance on Care Home visiting:
Government Press Release (Saturday) on the new Care Home Visiting scheme:
The Government’s Spring Covid Plan, which contains all of the details we have so far on the ‘roadmap’ for relaxing restrictions
(Section 5 is the section which relates to social care. There is also a handy diagram on P47-48 setting out the 4 different stages.)
The latest Covid figures from Portsmouth are here
You can also find regular updates from the Council Leader on twitter here (you do not need to have a twitter account to view his tweets)
JCVI Priority Groups Vaccination guidance
New Scientist explainer on vaccines (which includes a neat little video on vaccines in general)
National Winter Plan for Adult Social Care
Care Home Visiting Guidance
Home of Comfort’s Current Visiting Policy
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And our past newsletters are here