Following news this week of another national lockdown, ever increasing COVID cases and the rapid spread of a new, much more virulent, strain of the virus across our communities, we felt it was important to write to you with some reassurances.
Care home visits
As detailed in our last correspondence with you, window visits are still taking place at our homes. Each of them now has an intercom system which means you and your loved one can speak with each other through a closed window/glass door easily and audibly. However, please be aware that all of our homes are subject to changing Public Health rules and, in the unfortunate instance of positive COVID cases at the home, window visits may be temporarily suspended.
Enhanced COVID testing
In keeping with the new Scottish Government guidance which took effect this week, we are now testing our care home staff three times a week – twice with Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests which give rapid results, and once with the PCR test, the results of which take longer. The new guidance also requires LFD testing on essential visitors to our homes, including relatives paying a visit at end of life.
We are delighted to be working alongside our Public Health partners to roll out the COVID vaccine to all of our homes. Our vaccination schedule began last month and we’re proud that our North Inch facility in Perth was the first care home in Tayside to vaccinate residents. At the time of writing, all but two of our care facilities have had their first vaccines administered. Further to guidance issued by the Scottish Government’s Chief Medical Officer on 1 January, the schedules for the second vaccines may be subject to change in that our staff and residents may wait more than the recommended three weeks for their second shot. We say “may” because it is entirely dependent on the number of vaccines, and on the public health team administering them.
You and your loved one
Although we, and you, have been here before, it is worth reiterating that this second wave of the virus is different. The new strain is highly contagious and cases across the community are rising rapidly. But what hasn’t changed is Balhousie Care Group’s commitment to strict infection prevention and control measures, and the dedication of our highly skilled staff. Please be assured that caring for your loved one and ensuring that they are kept safe, happy and stimulated is our utmost priority. You can help by maintaining as much contact as you and your loved one are comfortable with, through telephone, Skype and FaceTime calls, email and letters. You can also follow our care home news through our social media channels, website and weekly relatives’ newsletter. Visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk for more information.
By mutual support, collaboration and communication, as well as a shared love and responsibility for our residents, we know we will get through the next weeks and months. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get in touch with your Home Manager if you have any concerns.
Lastly, please visit our website and in particular the Coronavirus Info section for the latest Balhousie and Scottish Government guidelines. You can also keep up to date by visiting https://www.gov.scot/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance/