Message to relatives on enhanced in-home visits in our care homes

The introduction of in-home visitation in March 2021 was a very welcome announcement for you, your loved ones, and the local care teams.  As we enter into the next phase of in-home visits, we would like to thank you for your patience and support as we gradually increase in home visits safely.

As our phased approach to in-home visits gather momentum, we wanted to write to communicate the next steps in our plans to enhance visits as Coronavirus transmission reduces. As always, protecting your loved one and our staff is our top priority and, it is with this in mind, as of 1 April 2021 we can introduce the following guidelines:

  • Residents can now receive two separate indoor visits per week, from two separate nominated visitors (one visitor per visit), to last up to 30 minutes.
  • Garden and window visits can now be increased to two nominated visitors from the same household per resident per week, visiting at the same time for 30 minutes.
  • You are welcome to choose EITHER a garden visit OR an in-home visit.
  • Local arrangements remain in place to support window visits.
  • We are pleased to be able to support hand holding during visits.
  • All visits should be booked online in advance or by calling the care home directly so that we can safely manage the number of visitors on-site.
  • PPE wearing and negative LFD tests are required for both indoor and garden visits.

On arrival you will be guided by our staff team through our thorough infection prevention and control measures.  In the case of garden and indoor visits, we ask that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled visit to allow for staff to perform a Lateral Flow Device test (LFD) which involves a nasal and throat swab. The results of this will be available within 30 minutes, and in that time you can fill in the necessary visitation paperwork.  Please note that the visit will take place not in residents’ rooms but a designated area of the home. The following procedure must be adhered to at all times and includes:

  1. Receiving a rapid response Lateral Flow Device test and return a negative result;
  2. Having your temperature checked with a result of <37.8 degrees centigrade;
  3. Wearing a mask and gown, which will be provided, and signing a consent form;

Please remember that meeting up with someone after a long period of time can be fairly delicate for anyone, and for our residents and relatives it can cause high emotion, confusion and anxiety. This may be heightened by the increase in numbers of people visiting, so please know that our care home staff are there to talk through any concerns you may have.

We have put together a video with some tips to help on your visit.  These resources can be found our Balhousie Care Group YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SoSuCBQs2M  or on our website at https://balhousiecare.co.uk/tips-on-visiting-your-loved-one-again-after-lockdown/

We will regularly review our visitation protocols giving due consideration to community transmission data, Scottish Government Guidelines and any local outbreak information. The guidelines will continue to change as the risk of transmission reduces.

In what has been such a difficult time, we are delighted to be able to take these next steps with you, and, as always, recognise how important this is for the wellbeing of our residents and you as family members or friends.   If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with your loved ones’ home manager.

Yours sincerely,

Sheilah Harvey

Head of Operations