I hope you are keeping safe and well. In the last few weeks, we have continued to see a downward trend in both residents and staff infections of Covid-19. As such, the majority of our homes are now in the position of having no active cases of the virus in either the resident or staff population.
I am extremely proud of every member of the team for the tireless way they have responded to this emergency. I am also incredibly grateful to our residents and you, their loved ones for the patience, compassion and loyalty you have shown them.
The main purpose of my letter today is to clarify our position in respect of the easing of lockdown measures in our homes, particularly in regard to our visiting policy. As lockdown measures ease in the general population, the risk to our residents increases. The more you and I are exposed to the wider population the greater our chance of contracting the virus and transmitting it, particularly to the highly vulnerable. If we were to open our care homes to unrestricted visiting at this time, I feel certain that all the work that we have done to minimise risk would be significantly undermined, with potentially catastrophic consequences. At this time a number of our homes who have met the previously specified criteria have been facilitating visitors to meet their loved one in their gardens with strict safeguards in place. You will be aware that yesterday the government issued further guidance on visiting care homes. Unfortunately, the media seem to have interpreted this as “Care Homes Open to Visitors.” The reality, however, is a little more nuanced than that. In the coming days, we will be carrying out a home by home dynamic risk assessment to determine which homes can extend their current visiting arrangements and liaising the local Director of Public Health to establish their view on the associated risks. If, we jointly agree, that visiting can be extended or indeed commenced then we will need to undertake an individual risk assessment for every resident to determine the safest approach for them.
Whilst I fully understand your desire to visit your loved one again as soon as possible I need to balance the risk to all our residents and staff to ensure that we mitigate the risk of a second wave of the virus hitting us all. I, therefore, am asking that you continue to refrain from visiting the home unless it is part of a current arrangement under our garden visit scheme. We will be in contact with you again early next week to update you on the individual arrangement for your specific home and to inform you of how the risk assessment for your loved one will be completed. In the meantime, please keep an eye on our website and the homes Facebook page for updates and for a downloadable copy of our guide to visiting.
As always if you have any questions regarding this letter please don’t hesitate in the first instance to contact the Home Manager or one of my Regional Managers whose details are available in the home. Alternatively, you can write to me at the head office address at the bottom of this page.
Lynn Fearn Managing Director