Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, carers have been eager for updates around visiting care homes or having residents visit their family home. In light of positive news of vaccines and rapid testing, we approached Hertfordshire County Council with the most common queries. Their full response can be downloaded at this link. Here is a summary of their response with regards to the care home’s responsibilities:
- As outlined in government guidelines, policies may differ for each care home, as it is the care home managers who are best placed to decide how visits should happen.
- Each care home is asked to complete risk assessments on individuals for visits out of the home. This includes the potential risk to the entire home and its residents. Not every care home has the means to support visits out of the home though.
- If the care home has two or more positive cases (an outbreak), they are advised against non-essential visitors (or visits out of the home) for 28 days.
Hertfordshire County Council then continued with advice for how visitors to a care home can make their visit safe:
- Limit your contact with others and isolate as much as possible two weeks before your visit.
- Your entire family bubble will be asked to take a test. This may be a test that returns a result within 20-30 minutes and can be self-administered with nasal and throat swabs. Not all care homes have access to rapid testing though.
- Carefully read the guidance and only mix with people from one household (or support bubble or childcare bubble). The care home resident should not become part of a three-household Christmas bubble.
- Do not come into contact with others during the visit.
- After a visit out of the care home, the resident will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks on their return. If either the resident or member of the family household/bubble starts to experience symptoms of COVID-19 (or receives a positive test result) during the visit, the resident may be asked to self-isolate in the family home before their return to the care home.
If you are unhappy with any decisions made by the care home, it is advised that you speak to the home in the first instance. You can also talk to your social care team about specific issues around the care and support of an individual.
We will share any updates from Hertfordshire County Council as the situation develops and guidance changes.