Firstly, I’d like to let you know that we are again in the happy position of reporting that we have no new cases of COVID-19 in any of our care homes. We continue to take the situation extremely seriously and infection control measures remain in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of all our residents and staff.
I know that many of you will have seen recent government guidance and news coverage about visiting care homes and I want to give you an update about our current situation. The latest guidance states that while ‘care homes can now develop a policy for limited visits’ each care home provider needs to make its decisions based on thorough risk assessments and ‘visiting should still be restricted with alternatives sought wherever possible’. We only received local advice yesterday from the Director of Public Health and we are currently reviewing the guidance.
At Palms Row we have taken the decision not to open up our homes for visitors at this stage. I am aware that the rate of community transmission has reduced but I want to be absolutely certain that it’s safe before we open up to visitors completely. We sadly lost residents during the peak of this pandemic and we know we’re working with a particularly vulnerable group of people.
We know that it has been extremely difficult for residents and their loved ones to miss out on visiting over the past few months and we’re all extremely grateful for your understanding and patience.
We have looked into options for safer visiting and we are now investing in outdoor mobile ‘Visitor Pods’ which will enable social distanced visits. One of these pods is currently being built at Northfield Care Home and will be rolled out at all our homes if it proves successful. We are continuing to facilitate video calls so you can speak to your loved ones via electronic devices and we are also happy to arrange ‘window visits’ where visitors remain outside but can see and talk to residents through an open window - please speak to your care home manager to arrange this.
Our first priority will always be the safety of our residents and we are doing all we can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks.
I will keep you updated about any changes to our visiting policy and thank you again for your continued patience during these difficult circumstances.