Maria Mallaband and Countrywide Coronavirus Update 

 21st December 2020

Maria Mallaband and Countrywide – keeping our residents safe and connected during Covid-19.

Here at Maria Mallaband and Countrywide Care Homes we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to always support safe visits in our care homes – and this continues to be our number one priority. 

This year we have witnessed many memorable and moving moments when people living in our homes and their loved ones have been reunited. Over recent months this has been made possible through the introduction of outdoor garden visits, window visits, pod and indoor screen, all in line with government and public health guidance.  We’ve been delighted to arrange these, as visits have been a lifeline for not only those that live with us, but also their relatives.
 
We look forward to welcoming even more relatives and friends to our homes to visit the people we care for, where it is safe to do so and with robust safety and infection control measures in place. We are continually reviewing our visiting policies, making changes where possible and safe.  This enables us to help reunite more families, whilst still prioritising the safety of the people living and working in our homes and visitors alike.

We are currently able to offer the following types of visits to our homes who meet the following criteria: have not had a virus outbreak for 28 days, the home is not in an area where local restrictions are now in place due to an increase of cases in the local community and where we have agreement from the local public health teams.

England 

Tiers 1 – 3 services can offer:

  • Close-contact indoor visits supported by testing, for a single constant visitor (subject to the care home currently having lateral flow device testing availability at the service).
  •  Socially distanced screened / pod or outdoor visits (garden and window) in the grounds of the home for a single constant visitor, wherever possible.  An absolute maximum of two constant visitors will be permitted, subject to local public health guidance & care home dynamic risk assessment. This, for example, means the same family member visiting each time, to limit the number of different individuals coming into contact. This is to limit the overall number of visitors to the care home and/or to the individual, reducing the consequent risk of disease transmission from multiple different routes.

 

Tier 4 services can offer:

  • Close-contact indoor visits supported by testing are unfortunately not allowed in Tier 4.
  • Socially distanced screened / pod or outdoor visits (garden and window) in the grounds of the home for a single constant visitor, wherever possible.  An absolute maximum of two constant visitors will be permitted, subject to local public health guidance & care home dynamic risk assessment. This, for example, means the same family member visiting each time, to limit the number of different individuals coming into contact. This is to limit the overall number of visitors to the care home and/or to the individual, reducing the consequent risk of disease transmission from multiple different routes.

 

For a full list of Local Restriction Tiers by area please see www.gov.uk

Scotland, Northern Ireland & Jersey Services

  •  Please continue to liaise with your local care home in relation to the various stages & protocols in operation by Health Protection Departments in respective countries – it is anticipated that updates are expected.

 

The above guidance is subject to change based on future government guidance, the situation at individual homes, decisions taken by the local Directors of Public Health, and local or national lockdowns. We will continue to keep our policies under review and provide updates accordingly.
 
Compassionate visits

  • Individuals who move into our care homes to receive professional care at the end of their lives due to critical health conditions; in these extreme cases we can arrange compassionate “in-room” visits for close family members. Compassionate visits are really important for the individual and their families, therefore we do everything that we can to help you get the most out of these visits in the safest possible way. 

 

Socially-distanced window visits

  • Socially distanced window visits may be able to be accommodated by homes that have reported an outbreak of COVID-19 in the last 28 days and/or are in local or national lockdown, with agreement with the local public health team and have appropriate risk assessments in place. This would require each service to obtain authorisation by local Directors of Public Health and cannot be guaranteed.  

 

Local and national lockdown

  • We remain incredibly alert to the changing rate of cases and any subsequent action taken by central government or local authorities, including changes in the level of restrictions in the affected areas, or nationally.

 

We always prioritise the health and wellbeing of those living in our homes and the staff who care for them.  We are ready to act quickly to respond to rising infection rates and/or any new revised restrictions imposed by central government or local authorities. This may mean temporarily increasing visiting restrictions as a precautionary measure due to a rise in the number of cases in the local area, or upon the advice of the local Public Health team or national government. 
 
For the latest information on Coronavirus in your area, please visit:
 
England: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Scotland: https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19

Virtual visits via video

  •  We are mindful that some of our relatives might be shielding themselves or find it difficult to visit their loved one in person for a number of possible reasons; in these cases, we can arrange virtual visits or telephone calls if video calls are not suitable.

 

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

  • Each local authority area is operating their own vaccination programme which will involve care homes within their locality.
  • We have been advised nationally to start to prepare for vaccinations for both residents and staff and each service will be contacted by their local vaccination team / hub to arrange vaccinations.
  • Currently our internal staff have not been asked to assist with the COVID 19 vaccination roll-out. We are fully prepared to support when the vaccine is made available to us. For the time being we are awaiting further information and each individual service will update accordingly on a home-by-home basis.
  • Whilst we wait for further information, our care services are preparing relevant consent documentation for residents which you may be asked to support or be involved in. We shall communicate this to relatives and residents when new information is available. 

 

Previous information which remains unchanged

We appreciate your patience and understanding that the care homes will do everything possible to accommodate your visit. Though in some cases a delay may be experienced or a visit unable to be accommodated due to individual care home circumstances or reasons beyond our control.

Not everyone is able to visit in person and the roll out of new technology into our care homes has allowed this valuable connection. Over the busy period of December, we are taking bookings for scheduled calls which includes the use of a dedicated resident iPad available in every home. Whether through Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime, Microsoft Teams or for simple catch up over phone, please contact us to arrange.  This can be arranged easily by visiting our website at your convenience, selecting the ‘book a visit button’ and we will be in touch.  We are happy to support and advise where needed on the use of various devices to enable family members and friends to stay in contact, please speak to us if assistance is required.

Essential professional visits continue. In line with the government guidelines all visits continue on a restricted basis and is limited to one designated or ‘constant’ visitor per resident.  If this changes, as the government news suggests we will let you know, please visit our short regular update section on the website by visiting our ‘Caring through Covid’ page.

As you might expect, all in person visits will continue to be by appointment-only with the Home Manager and will be agreed on an individual home-by-home basis. We are thankful to all visitors for taking the usual safety precautions, including wearing a mask in communal spaces and washing hands regularly. Again, this can be requested by visiting our website and selecting the ‘book a visit button’ or calling the home on their usual contact number.

Regrettably, anyone visiting the home without prior agreement will be refused admission. Our home managers have also been asked not to admit anyone displaying symptoms of Covid-19, and we ask you to cooperate with them in this regard.

In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in a care home, unfortunately visiting will be suspended until the outbreak is over. This is to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors.

Our homes remain open to new admissions as usual and we are following the current guidelines issued from the public health authorities to ensure the wellbeing of all. It is important we continue to support the healthcare system and individuals who require a safe care environment.

Any questions you might have please do refer to your local Care Home Manager.

Thank you so much for bearing with us through these ever-changing times, but please be assured that caring for people living with us will always be our main priority.

We will continue to keep this policy under review and provide updates as appropriate. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions.