GUIDANCE ON VISITING OUR CARE HOMES DURING COVID-19

We shall be providing regular updates and guidance about visits to all our care homes on this page during the outbreak of COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.

Latest Guidance on COVID 19 for Meallmore Residents, Colleagues and Visitors

25 September 2020

Mary Preston, Operations Director, provides an update on visiting to our care homes:

As per Scottish Government Visiting Guidelines, we are very pleased to be able to permit the following visits for our care home residents:

  • One outdoor visit per week per resident for up to 3 visitors from a maximum of 2 different households

And

  • One indoor visit per week for one designated visitor per resident.

The announcements this week of tighter national restrictions have not impacted the current approaches within care homes. Visiting continues in line with Scottish Government’s Stage 3 of the staged approach to visiting and communal activity in care homes. The latest updates can be found here.  https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-adult-care-homes-visiting-guidance

As active members of Scottish Care, we are lobbying for sensible adjustments as we enter into cold Autumn and Winter days because we cannot justify our residents or their relatives, and indeed our staff, being subjected to inclement weather for any length of time. We will keep you updated on our progress and are confident a way forward has to be found as our First Minister has expressed her commitment to care home visiting.

As well as lobbying nationally, our homes are also contacting their local Health Protection Teams to discuss outside visiting concerns coming into darker nights and colder weather. We are conscious that the weather does not provide the most engaging environment to see our loved ones and brings added risks of slippage and colds and flu. We are asking – among other things – if we can at least have two sides of gazebo down and additional measures in place to help with this.

As of 7 September, we are also welcoming essential and non-essential visiting professionals, in line with stage 3 of the Guidance. (Please note that professionals such as hairdressers/beauticians  who are not directly employed and entertainers will be introduced in Stage 4 Guidance.)

As with previous guidance, these visits can only take place in homes deemed to be “covid-free” for 28 days by Health Protection Scotland. If anyone, either a resident or a member of staff, shows symptoms or tests positive during a routine test then the status will change, and all visits will stop for at least 28 days.  We have an online booking system that should be used and in the exceptional case where you are unable to access the online booking system, please speak to a member of staff at the care home.

Visits to all of our care homes need to be pre-arranged, follow current company guidance and our home managers will continue to monitor and approve requests.

Unfortunately we are not able to permit any visitors to our care homes if they are located within a local ‘lockdown’ area, so please follow local guidance for each individual home. It is also important to note that as risks are being identified in local areas across Scotland on an ongoing basis, restrictions may be reinforced at short notice to protect the safety of our residents and staff. Our home managers will continue to update you on any changes as they happen.

Our care homes have ongoing regular testing of staff and in some areas routine resident testing is also taking place. Should it happen, any home that has an outbreak will close to non-essential visitors for 28 days. However, please be assured that we remain committed to taking all precautions to keep our residents and staff safe.

What I would stress is that we all need to be vigilant, careful and follow the guidance. We do not want the second wave to hit our services and the only way we can help influence this, is to stay strong, pull together and follow the guidance and FACTS.

Please do not visit if you have any symptoms, have been advised of contact concerns or are waiting on a Covid-19 test result.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support during this difficult time.

14 August 2020

Mary Preston, Operations Director, provides an update on phasing in the re-introduction of visiting to our care homes.

As of Monday 10 August, we are pleased to report that the Scottish Government will permit care home residents to have up to three outdoor visitors at one time, from no more than two households. This represents a move into Stage 3 of the staged approach to visiting and communal activity in care homes. 

Visiting still needs to be pre-arranged in line with current company guidance and our home managers will continue to monitor and approve requests.

We are also working on the introduction of indoor visiting for residents by one designated visitor. To achieve this, we are agreeing a plan with the local Health Protection Scotland Team that will allow this to happen as safely as possible, either on, or before, 24th August 2020.

Our home managers will be agreeing local arrangements so that we continue to promote the safety of our residents, staff, and visitors.

It is important to note that where there is a local ‘lockdown’ in place then visitors from that area will not be permitted to attend external or internal visiting in line with local Health Protection Scotland advice. Currently we have been advised that indoor visiting cannot commence in any Aberdeenshire Home at this time to allow further intelligence and understanding to be gathered by Public Health, regarding the current COVID prevalence across Grampian. Our home managers will keep local relatives updated in this regard.

As with previous guidance, these visits can only take place in homes deemed to be “covid-free” for 28 days by Health Protection Scotland. If anyone, either a resident or a member of staff shows symptoms or tests positive during a routine test then the status will change, and all visits will stop for at least 28 days.  At the time of writing we can confirm all homes remain covid-free with ongoing  regular testing of staff, and in some areas routine resident testing is also taking place. We know that we cannot guarantee this status will continue however we remain committed to taking all precautions that we can.

We have an online booking system that should be used and in the exceptional case where you are unable to access the online booking system, please speak to a member of staff at the care home.

The Scottish government have created a leaflet for families to support the latest and planned guidance which can be found here

Hopefully, we will have plenty of dry days to make visiting in increased numbers as good as it can be. Thank you so much for all the support you continue to show during this difficult time.

Relevant links:

We are closely following and complying with information from Health Protection Scotland and Scottish Government to ensure we keep our residents safe, and that our amazing management and staff continue to deliver great care to all.

You can access relevant links to guidance below:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/