Update to relatives on visiting guidelines following emergence of new COVID variant

As you will know from media reports, community transmission of the Omicron variant in Scotland is of deep concern, particularly as the medical and scientific community still know so little about it. For that reason, and in line with recently issued Scottish Government guidelines, it is important that all of us – staff, relatives, friends and other outside visitors – do all we can to help minimise the risk of the spread of infection in our Balhousie homes.

With immediate effect, and until further notice, we will be asking visitors to have proof of a negative Lateral Flow Test (LFT) each time they visit the home. Please note:

  1. The test can be done at your own home (for details on obtaining free tests visit https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests). We will accept evidence of a negative test on a phone.
  2. Alternatively, we will perform a test when you arrive at the home – please leave extra time if that is the case.

Secondly, we are adopting the Scottish Government’s suggestion this week that visitors to our care homes be restricted to two households per visit. The participating visitors can change with each visit.

As a further safeguard, and to ease the already considerable pressures on our staff, there will be four visitors maximum per resident at each visit.

We will continue to monitor these guidelines on a daily basis as we receive more information.

We are also asking for your cooperation with following thorough infection and prevention control procedures. Good hygiene remains one of the best deterrents to spreading this disease. It is therefore important for all of us to:

  • Continue wearing face coverings appropriately;
  • Practice hand hygiene;
  • Practice social distancing as much as possible.

We are excited about the festive season and are encouraging our homes to continue with their plans for concerts, singers and events, as well as gift exchanges and putting up decorations. However, these decisions will be up to the discretion of Home Managers based on their individual circumstances and home environment.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and for helping to support our hard-working staff at an already challenging time for our care homes. If you have any questions your Home Manager will be happy to answer them.

For a full copy of the Scottish Government’s most recent care home guidelines visit https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-minimising-the-risk-over-winter-letter-to-care-home-sector/ or visit the Relatives’ Info section on our website, www.balhousiecare.co.uk