Visits during Coronavirus - Covid-19
1 July 2020

Reintroducing care home visits. So we’re happy to announce that we’re ready to welcome visitors back to our care homes – albeit at a safe distance of at least 2m, and with a few stipulations to minimise the risk (please review the Q&As below).

Thanks to our hard working fabulous staff and early decision making, we have remained COVID-19 free.

(We continue to follow the advice that GOV.UK and the NHS are updating daily as the global outbreak develops).

Ensuring residents’ health and wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do and we aim to reflect this in the way we support our residents enjoying visits from their families and friends

It’s been many weeks since coronavirus restricted our ability to welcome your family visits to our care homes. Of course, there are extremely good reasons for this. We’ve been doing everything in our power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our care home – adhering to strict PPE, hygiene and social distancing guidelines.

However our residents have missed seeing you in person and catching up with all your news face-to-face. And our care teams have missed the extra sense of love and community that visitors bring to our homes.

Residents in Ablecare’s homes during lockdown

Reintroducing visits within Ablecare’s homes

Reintroducing Care Home Visits - Q & A

Click on a question to view how we are reintroducing visits

Please do not visit if you are unwell or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, if any member of your household is self-isolating

In light of recent steps by the government to loosen the strict lockdown measures in England, visits to all of our services are now possible, with some restrictions.

For the moment we are unable to offer visits without an appointment or entry into the building itself. All of our services have different outdoor facilities and access so arrangements will differ in each case, however we hope you will be able to arrange to visit your loved one in one of the following ways:

  • Designated outdoor areas - each service will set aside an outside designated area where visits can take place, such as a garden, with 2m distancing.
  • Drive through visits – where feasible we will facilitate a drive through visit whereby a resident is able to talk to a visitor whilst they remain in their vehicle.
  • Window visits - where a garden visit cannot take place, a ground floor window visit will be considered in a dedicated space via patio doors or through an open window, with 2m distancing.
  • Virtual Visits - If your family member is unable to leave their room and meet you in person, don’t forget that we are still offering Skype and FaceTime calls. We’ve really made the most of technology during lockdown and our residents have embraced new ways of keeping in touch with friends and family.
  • Visits are by appointment only so please telephone the home to arrange a visit (we can not offer visits without an appointment).
  • Visits will generally be for a maximum of one hour. (We need to make sure there is suitable space for each socially-distanced visit, so we can’t have as many visits happening at the same time as we would have done before COVID-19). Those who travel extensive distances to visit a resident may be granted a visit of extended duration by prior agreement where this can be accommodated.
  • Residents can now receive up to two visitors (who are from the same household) at a time, unless in exceptional circumstances which must be discussed at the time of booking.
  • We welcome children provided they are under the supervision of a responsible adult and observe appropriate social distancing.
  • Visitors must bring and wear their own face covering (face mask) and bring and use their own hand sanitiser gel. Sanitising gel can not be provided to visitors; and visitors can not use the hand washing facilities inside the property.
  • Visitors are required to maintain a minimum safe distance of at least 2 metres at all times. Even though it will be extremely tempting to hug and kiss your relative when you see them again after so long, you must keep at least 2m from them – it’s for their (and your) protection.
  • Residents who are shielding are advised to only have one visitor at a time and if possible, should see the same person each time.
  • All visitors are required to complete a screening form upon arrival to ensure they are not displaying symptoms.
  • Please do not bring flowers with you as a gift - any other present needs to be something we can easily clean and must be passed to a member of staff, with 2m distancing.

We hope that these arrangements will mean that as many of our residents as possible can see their family and friends in person again – they’ve missed you so much!

The inside of the property will remain closed to visitors, which includes toilets. In the event of an emergency, where it is considered essential for a visitor to be allowed access to a bathroom, visitors will be asked to wear a face mask and wash their hands on entering and leaving the building. We hope you will understand that if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the home, visiting arrangements will be suspended.

If you have any questions or would like to book a visit, please contact the manager.

Unfortunately given that our residents are categorised in the most vulnerable group and that the vast majority of our services are group living environments, the recent announcement about creating a social bubble cannot yet apply to our houses and homes. This is because for one person to explore these new freedoms risks everybody at the house or home.We will of course keep you informed if this guidance changes.

Our priority continues to be preventing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining the safety of our residents, their visitors and our staff.

In light of the advice that older people must be particularly cautious, we are applying the social distancing principle to our houses and homes as much as is feasible to reduce the risk of infection spreading between residents. We are asking residents to stay, as much as possible, in their own rooms, and this includes for their meals if we cannot maintain social distancing in our dining rooms.

We are taking the same precautions with our staff, and any staff member displaying symptoms will not be allowed to enter our services until they have completed the required self isolation as required by Public Health bodies. We provide regularly updated guidance to all of our employees and have ordered an appropriate stock of PPE so that staff can care for any resident safely should they display COVID-19 symptoms.

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have introduced stringent cleaning measures and continue to do so. To help reduce the risk of infection we are supporting residents to wash their hands with soap and water on a more frequent basis and are offering alcohol hand gel throughout the day.

Visiting arrangements will be suspended where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within a service.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unsettling and worrying time for us all. But for those living with dementia, adapting to restrictions and changes is harder still.

If you’re thinking about arranging to visit a relative living with dementia in one of our care homes, you may be wondering whether they’ll remember you after so long without face-to-face visits, or what you should do if they try and hug you.

Firstly – a member of our care team will be on hand to support your loved one and you before and throughout the visit.

If you’re worried that your loved one won’t remember you, we can spend the days before your visit showing your family member photos, and talking about you during reminiscence time. During your visit there are some things you can do to try and make yourself more recognisable and understandable:

  • Keeping eye contact
  • Speaking clearly
  • Using gestures and signs
  • Thinking about your tone of voice
  • Writing a note for your loved one to read, if they can

If a family member is approaching the end of their life, one person will be able to arrange a visit on compassionate grounds. You will be shown how to use the correct PPE and must wash your hands thoroughly when entering and leaving the building. Please contact the service manager in advance, who will make arrangements with you so that you can visit your relative safely.

Testing is available to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms in any setting. As per the government guidelines, residents and employees who reside in a care setting have been tested for COVID-19.We continue to monitor infection rates and government guidance.

We are continuing to do everything we can to keep life as normal as possible for our residents during the pandemic. Being isolated and unable to see loved ones for weeks on end can have a detrimental effect on both physical and mental health, so it has been more important than ever to support our residents through this difficult time. We have been finding creative ways to provide entertainment and a sense of connection with others such as a pen-pal scheme, activity packs, games, virtual tours and exercise classes. Our dedicated staff team is on-hand to support residents to stay in touch with their loved ones through regular letters, phone-calls and video chats. They are also spending 1:1 time with residents to lower the risk of social isolation.