How Larchwood Care is responding to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

CONTINUING TO CARE

At Larchwood Care, the health, wellbeing and safety of our residents is at the heart of everything we do. Although we have made many changes to the way we work, our teams continue to ensure that life is enjoyable and fulfilling for those in our care. With well-established infection control procedures and a dedicated clinical governance and quality team to oversee these, we have been able to react quickly and safely manage the pandemic across our care homes.

Read how we have been using data-driven technology to ensure our care homes remain COVID-19 Safe.

VISITING UPDATE – October 2021

We are delighted to have reunited our residents with their designated visitors inside our homes over the past weeks and months.

However, we must make sure that we continue to welcome visitors into our homes in the safest possible way. We are working hard to manage the risks of Covid-19 transmission while ensuring our residents and their families can enjoy spending time together.

When new government guidance is issued, we carry out dynamic risk assessments for each of our homes and review our visiting policy accordingly. Each resident has their own individualised visiting plan and we continue to encourage close family members to be involved in the development of this.

We understand how difficult it has been for our residents and their loved ones during the pandemic, and we have been supporting our residents in any way we can. Where a resident is unable to make a decision for themselves, we have been working with family members and friends to make a best interest decision on their behalf.

All visiting arrangements are subject to strict infection control protocols and vary depending on location.

Care Home Visiting in England

In England, current guidance allows each care home resident to have an essential caregiver as well as named visitors who may visit them regularly indoors.

Care Home Visiting in Scotland

Currently, in Scotland, guidelines do not refer to named or nominated visitors. Visiting is based on the dynamic risk assessment for each care home.

Care Home Visiting in Wales

In Wales, current guidance allows each care home resident to nominate an essential visitor who can visit regularly indoors. Additional visiting options will be subject to the dynamic risk assessment for each care home.

*The terms ‘nominated visitor’ and ‘named visitor’ mean that it must be the same people or person visiting.

Additional Visiting Options

Additional visiting options include garden, garden pod (with a substantial screen) and window visits. These depend upon the location and layout of your local Larchwood Care Home.

For the most up-to-date visiting arrangements for your local care home, please contact your home manager.

Changes to Visiting

The manager of your relative’s care home will contact you by letter, email or telephone with any changes to visiting arrangements, advising the start date, booking process and infection control procedures visitors will need to follow. This will include information on lateral flow tests and PPE for visitors.

BOOKING YOUR VISIT

All visits must be booked by the designated visitor in advance through the booking system at the home. Please call your relative’s care home directly to book your visit.

The team at the home will book your visit for a specified time slot. The length and frequency of visits will be determined by the dynamic risk assessment which has been completed by the home manager and their team.

Please do not turn up at the home expecting to visit if you have not booked in advance.

WHEN YOU ARRIVE FOR YOUR VISIT

Please proceed to the designated entrance as indicated at the time of booking where a member of our team will greet you.

We will then:

  • Check that you are currently well and specifically have no cough, fever or loss of taste and smell
  • Ask if you have had recent contact with anyone with coronavirus symptoms or anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Take your temperature with a contactless thermometer
  • Ask you to complete and sign the risk questionnaire provided
  • We may record your details for NHS Test and Trace if we didn’t get them during the booking process

YOUR LATERAL FLOW TEST

The team member who greeted you will escort you to our lateral flow testing area and provide you with instructions. You will need to wait for 30 minutes for the test result, but we will do our best to make sure you are comfortable during this time.

On receipt of a negative result, we will:

  • Ask you to wash and sanitize your hands
  • Provide you with PPE that must be worn for the duration of your visit (our team member will provide you with instructions to ensure it is worn properly)
  • Remind you that you can hold hands with your loved one, but that no further contact will be allowed at this time
  • Escort your loved one into the visiting room, or take you to their room as appropriate

Should your test result be positive, you will be asked to return home immediately and to follow government rules for self-isolation and COVID-19 testing.

You may carry out your own lateral flow test at home, but you will be asked to provide evidence of a negative test in the previous 24-hours before the visit may commence.

HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR VISIT

Although visiting your loved one inside their care home will come as a great relief, it will almost certainly feel very different for all involved.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • With face masks required on all visits, remember to speak loudly and clearly
  • Consider writing information down for your relative to read, if they can
  • Maintaining eye contact will help allay the distraction of a face mask
  • Try to wear familiar clothing and style your hair in a way your loved one will recognise
  • You are welcome to bring gifts that can be wiped down before handing them to your loved one

Although we will do our best to prepare your loved one for their visit, by looking at photos and discussing family memories, those with dementia may struggle to recognise you at first. Talking about childhood memories and reminiscing about significant life events during your visit may help with this.

PREPARING FOR CHANGE

As you know, the situation can change rapidly. In the event of an outbreak in a care home or if instructed by the local Public Health Director, visiting will be stopped immediately (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life).

The home manager will be in contact with you to confirm any changes to our visiting policy should they occur.

HELPING YOU STAY IN TOUCH

Restricted visiting does not mean you have to lose touch. We have contingencies in place to ensure that you can still speak to, and in many cases still see relatives in our care during the pandemic.

Through the use of phone and video calls, and where applicable, the care home’s Facebook page, we will ensure that you remain in contact with your loved one, and they remain in contact with the wider community.

We are also regularly writing to our residents’ relatives to keep them informed of any changes or updates to our plans.

COVID-19 VACCINE

Currently, we are working with the NHS and local public health teams to get the Covid-19 vaccination and boosters to our residents and staff as quickly as possible. We have had a fantastic take up of vaccinations for both residents and staff to date and the number continues to rise.

We have recently implemented a new recruitment policy to ensure all new joiners are vaccinated before they start work. This will assist us in fulfilling our responsibility to minimise risk to the lowest practicable level. From the 11th November 2021, all staff and any new starters must be double vaccinated to work in our care homes in England.

With vaccination one of our best defences in the fight against Covid-19, we respectfully recommend that all visitors and residents take the opportunity to be vaccinated before conducting visits.

WE ARE OPEN TO ADMISSIONS

We are welcoming new residents into our homes to support those in the community who require care.

To safeguard the health and wellbeing of our residents and care teams, we will carry out preadmission assessments remotely by telephone, video call, or email. This is to ensure that any new admissions are safe, appropriate, and do not put our residents and staff at risk.

If you would like to make an enquiry please click here to find the contact details for your local care home.

WHAT WE WILL DO NEXT

All residents in our homes are highly vulnerable, as are many of their loved ones. We need to ensure that the actions we take do not significantly increase the rate of infections.

We are acting on the advice and guidelines provided by Public Health England, Public Health Wales, and Public Health Scotland. As the situation changes, we will constantly review and adapt our approach. We will update this page in line with the most current Government information and advice.

We thank you for your co-operation and for considering the health and wellbeing of our residents at this time.

FURTHER QUESTIONS

If you have any further questions about our response to COVID-19 or the situation at your local Larchwood Care Home, simply call the care home manager or person in charge.

We thank you for your co-operation and for considering the health and wellbeing of our residents at this time.

Useful Links

For the latest information on Covid-19, please take a look at some of the links below.

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