When will I be able to visit my loved one?
Our clinical and governance team are continually assessing public health and NHS guidance as well as other local and national updates to assess the risk to each home. Currently, our priority is to reduce the risk of infection for residents and the teams caring for them and we believe the best way to do this is to limit visits to exceptional circumstances. We will continue to follow public health advice, but our initial estimate is that these restrictions may be in place for around 12 weeks from when they were first put in place in late March. We will advise relatives as soon as this changes. Meanwhile, our teams are doing everything they can to keep residents safe, occupied and feeling connected to their friends and family.
What constitutes ‘exceptional circumstances’?
This will depend on the circumstances in the home at any point in time. If you believe your situation falls into this category, please contact the home manager who will discuss whether it is appropriate for you to visit. Please do not travel to the home without confirmation of a visit as unfortunately, we will not be able to grant you access to the home without prior agreement from the home manager.
Why has Heatherwood Health Care decided to stop visitors?
Our priority is, and will always be, keeping residents safe. As residents in our homes are more likely to be seriously affected if they catch coronavirus, we’re doing everything we can to limit the chances of the virus entering any homes. Although you may feel well and healthy, some people do not show any, or only slight, symptoms but may still be capable of spreading the virus. Therefore, we have taken the decision to limit all but essential visitors. This aligns with Government guidance about self-isolation for those in high risk categories and the over seventies.
Is there anything I can do to help the team at the home?
We have recently launched a programme to register the interest of volunteers who may wish to support our homes. Please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest. You will be asked to provide a few personal details, including a copy of your DBS if you have had one done in the past three years. Keep in mind that we will only use volunteers where absolutely necessary to ease the pressure of colleagues self-isolating. Please don’t be offended if we don’t respond to your offer of volunteer support immediately – we will call on you if and when needed.
Can I help with any supplies (food, medical supplies) for your care home?
We work with a number of suppliers across our care homes every day for essential items such as food, medicines and other items, and are in touch with them on an ongoing basis to ensure deliveries and stocks of items to our homes continue. Currently, we have no concerns about obtaining these, so please rest assured we remain safe and have the items we need.
How do I stay in touch with my loved one if I’m not allowed to visit?
We realise how important keeping in touch with family and friends is, and have not taken this decision lightly. Our home teams will continue to do their best to help and support you to stay in touch by whatever means they can.
We have a dedicated Whats App video dial in number or via telephone, and email, as well as by letter or cards. Please contact the Home Manager find out what options are available to you. The Home Manager's are also sending one 2 one emails to all family members on an almost daily basis with a brief outline of the days activities, the well being of of your loved one and photographs.
Will visits from children by considered?
For the time being, for the safety of residents and the teams at the home, we have had to severely limit all visits to our care homes and it would be unlikely that a visit from children would full under our definition of exceptional circumstances. Please consider other ways that family and friends can keep in touch with loved ones, whether that’s by telephone, video call, email, or by letter or card. Pictures drawn by younger family members are always popular with residents in our home.
What’s the best way to find out more about the situation?
We are constantly assessing the situation, and the most up-to-date advice and guidance will be found on our website. We will email all relatives contacts as things change.
Why are you still accepting new residents to Care UK homes – doesn’t this put residents at risk?
While we understand this is a concern for some relatives, we feel it is important that we help relieve the pressure on other parts of the health service by accepting residents only where it is safe to do so. Where we feel a home has a heightened level of risk, we have limited our admissions to those requiring permanent care and we are no longer allowing families to view the home before admission. We also put in place a number of processes to minimise the risks associated with new admissions – this includes reviewing a history of temperature checks, and caring for new admissions isolation for the first seven days of their stay. In addition a mandatory requirement in line with Government Guidelines is that a covid-19 test must be carried out. The Home's protocols are that the test result MUST be negative and that 7 days must pass from the test result to the possibility of a Home admission. We have clear protocols in place.
Are GPs/district nurses still allowed into the home?
All essential visits from healthcare professionals are still permitted as normal.