Maria Mallaband and Countrywide Coronavirus Update

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a new national lockdown we once again found ourselves in the position of needing to review our visiting policy.

This is not the way any of us would wish to be starting 2021 – but we want to reassure our families that despite these tougher national restrictions, we will do everything we can to ensure they stay connected with their loved ones living within our homes.

Keeping the people living and working with us safe is always our key priority, and with much higher levels of transmission and hospitalisation being reported in our local communities, we have had to make some important changes.

For the time being, pod and screen visits have been suspended. We will continue with window visits, which, because they don’t involve family members entering any internal space within the home, allow them to see and connect with their loved ones safely. For those who are not on the ground floor, a ground floor room will be made available for a window visit.

We will of course continue to support visits for end-of-life care, making use of infection control measures, and providing PPE.

The technology which helped us keep you connected during 2020 will be put to full use, with video calls providing a key means for families to see and talk with each other regularly. We know this makes a big difference, alongside other forms of communication including phone calls, letters, and emails.

While the requirements of this new lockdown are akin to those set out by the Government for the first lockdown back in March, the difference now is that virus tests are now widely in use and, crucially, that vaccines are available and being rolled out as quickly as possible.

MMCG is fully behind this and working strategically to support the vaccination programme across all our homes. As per the priority groups set out by the government, the vaccination is being made available to all our staff, and our homes are starting to receive vaccinations for the people living with us, with many already having received their first dose.

We will continually review our visiting policy within this ever-changing COIVD landscape, and keep you updated at every stage. With the continued efforts of our brilliant staff, the ongoing support of our families, and the hope provided by the vaccination to urge us along, we know we can get through this challenging time while protecting both the physical and the emotional and mental health of everyone living and working with us within the MMCG family.

England

  • Close-contact, Pod & Screen indoor visits are now suspended. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.
  • indoors: essential visits only.
  • outdoors: visits to the care home to see loved ones through the window, arranged with care home in advance. This will be reviewed in two weeks.

 

Scotland

  • Close-contact, Pod & Screen indoor visits are now suspended. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.
  • indoors: essential visits only.
  • outdoors: visits to the care home to see loved ones through the window, arranged with care home in advance. This will be reviewed in two weeks.

 

Northern Ireland / Jersey

  • Close-contact, Pod & Screen indoor visits are now suspended. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak
  • indoors: essential visits only.
  • outdoors: visits to the care home to see loved ones through the window, arranged with care home in advance. This will be reviewed in two weeks.

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.

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:

 

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 January, 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.