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Covid 19 - Coronavirus Update - 9th December 2020

Published: Thursday 10th December 2020

To all our residents, relatives and friends,

COVID 19 (Coronavirus) - Update

To all our residents, relatives and friends,

I am writing today with a further update and positive news on our visitor policy and specifically on the use of the new rapid (lateral flow) tests. 

You may have seen in the media that there have been concerns raised around the accuracy of the rapid tests, with some data suggesting that they have an accuracy rate of between 50-75%.  Indeed, some local authorities (although not currently any that we work with) have advised operators not to use these tests due to accuracy concerns.  With this in mind, I am sure you will agree that we should proceed with caution.

We know how difficult these last 10 months have been and we want to do everything we can to facilitate more meaningful visits with your loved ones as soon as possible.  I can confirm that once we receive the new tests and our staff have successfully completed the mandatory training, we will be commencing ‘rapid testing visits’ for people who take the test and have a negative result. 

However, given that there is clearly still some risk of transmission (possibly half of all positive cases not being identified via the rapid tests), in order to continue to keep our residents and staff as safe and protected as we can, we will be adopting a staged approach to visits which will run parallel to the imminent roll-out of the Coronavirus vaccine.

Our plan for visits over the next few weeks is as follows:

-          Once the rapid tests have arrived and our staff are fully trained, we will commence with ‘rapid testing visits’;

-          Visits must always be booked in advance;

-          On arrival, you will be met by a member of the team in the car park who will first take your temperature and then offer you an oral swab for you to use independently.  The member of staff will be in full PPE;

-          You will then hand the swab back to the member of staff who will administer the remainder of the test for you;

-          You must wait in the car until you receive your test results, which will be sent via email which will be ready within 30 minutes;

-          If the results are negative, you will be escorted to the visitor’s room;

-          We will provide you with full PPE which will be a mask, apron and gloves and this should be worn throughout the visit;

-          Our screens in the visitor’s room will be removed for the rapid testing visits but due to concerns around the accuracy of these tests and to keep our residents safe, we will only be permitting ‘non-contact’ visits.  This will be updated once the first round of vaccinations has taken place;

-          After the first round of vaccinations, visitors will still be required to wear PPE but will not have to socially distance.  We are hoping this is just a matter of weeks away;

-          After the second round of vaccinations (21 days after the first), we hope to welcome you back into our homes to visit your loved one in their own room.  

-          We are working closely with local CCGs on the vaccine roll out and our homes are completing all the relevant paperwork around capacity and consent to ensure we are prepared to receive the vaccines as soon as we can. We believe this is imminent which is a huge relief to all concerned.

Your Home Manager will be in touch to let you know when they will be commencing the first rapid testing visits. In the meantime, we will be continuing with our screened visits so please keep booking those as usual. It’s been lovely to see some of you in person over the past few days.

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and as we take these positive steps together, we must thank you all for the support you have shown our teams up and down the country.  It really has been a source of great motivation and has kept us going through some extremely tough times. 

Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.

Kind regards,

Stacey Linn, Director, Ideal Carehomes