Care home FAQs

Latest information

Wales moved into alert level zero on Saturday 7 August. You can read the latest Welsh Government guidance for further information on care home visiting.

In line with the new guidance, indoor visits can take place within a resident’s own room, which will be the primary way that visits are held going forward. This allows our residents and families to benefit from spending time closer together in a personal and private space.

During a Covid-19 outbreak at a care home, one designated essential visitor may visit a resident regularly indoors provided the resident or visitor do not themselves have Covid-19 (unless there are exceptional circumstances such as end of life). Essential visiting arrangements also have to take into consideration any additional advice received from the local authority and Public Health Wales.

We are grateful for your continued support and understanding as we and for your ongoing help in limiting the transmission of the virus, particularly into our care homes.

Please read our frequently asked questions below for more information.

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What visits are allowed?

Indoor:

  • Indoor visits can now take place in a resident’s room as well as in a designated visiting space. Windows and doors must be open to ensure adequate ventilation.
  • The limit of two indoor visitors at the same time per resident has been removed from the guidance. The number of indoor visitors allowed at the same time will now be subject to a risk assessment by the care home to determine how many visitors they can safely accommodate in the space available.
  • Visitors are still required to be tested on arrival at the home, 30 minutes before their visiting appointment. You can read more here about what to expect when doing a lateral flow test.
  • Where a visitor is already part of a routine testing programme i.e. teachers, they can bring their latest LFD test cartridge (the test must have been completed within two days prior to the appointment) and email notification to the visit as evidence. If sufficient evidence is not available, visitors will be required to carry out a test at the home.
  • Face coverings are still required in communal areas of the care home, but visitors may remove them once they are in the resident’s room or designated visiting room.
  • Where a visitor is likely to be in significantly closer contact or care giving for the resident, they will be required to wear PPE according to infection control guidance.

Designated essential visitors

  • During a Covid-19 outbreak at the care home, one designated essential visitor may visit a resident regularly indoors provided the resident or visitor do not themselves have Covid-19 (unless there are exceptional circumstances). This will ensure that people can continue to benefit from regular visits by a nominated essential visitor when wider restrictions on routine visits maybe in place.
  • Essential visiting arrangements also have to take into consideration any additional advice received from the local authority and Public Health Wales.  
  • Your existing designated visitor will become this role unless you wish to change, in which case please contact your care home.

Outdoor visits

  • Outdoor visitors no longer need to wear face coverings in outdoor areas of the care home.
  • If you wish to have you visit outside in nice weather, you can do so, just let us know.
  • Testing is not required for outdoor visits unless you have to go through the care home access the garden.
  • Where a test is required, please arrive at the home 30 minutes before your visiting appointment. You can read more here about what to expect when doing a lateral flow test.
  • When making your appointment, the home can confirm the number of people they can safely accommodate at the visit.

Visiting pods and enclosed safe spaces

  • These facilities are available as an alternative visiting space to a resident’s room if visitors should prefer.
  • The number of visitors we can accommodate in the space available will be determined by the care home.
  • Visitors will not be subject to testing if there is an outside entrance for the visitor, a fixed floor to ceiling screen and appropriate safeguards in place i.e. cleaning between visits.
  • Visitors may remove face coverings once seated, if there is an outside entrance for the visitor, a fixed floor to ceiling screen and appropriate safeguards in place.

      Please contact your care home to book an appointment. Contact details are available here.

      When can I visit?

      We continue to operate a booking system for visiting; please call your care home to make an appointment. Click here for their contact details.

      Our care homes will be doing their best to accommodate as many visits as possible. Availability and the hours for visiting will differ per care home due to the needs of each service.

      To minimise disruption to our residents’ daily routine such as mealtime and medication rounds, visiting appointments are typically available outside of these times.

      It is very important that visitors arrive promptly to maximise the time they have with their loved one. Unfortunately, if visitors are running late we will be unable to extend time slots but we will happily rearrange another suitable time.

      Who can visit?

      Visitors no longer need to be designated which means more family members and friends have the opportunity to visit their loved one.

      During a Covid-19 outbreak at the care home, one designated essential visitor may visit a resident regularly indoors provided the resident or visitor do not themselves have Covid-19 (unless there are exceptional circumstances). This will ensure that people can continue to benefit from regular visits by their designated essential visitor when wider restrictions on routine visits maybe in place.

      Essential visiting arrangements also have to take into consideration any additional advice received from the local authority and Public Health Wales.  

      Your existing designated visitor will become this role unless you wish to change, in which case please contact your care home.

      Children and young people

      • We can support planned visits from children on request. Please speak to your care home when making your visiting appointment.
      • It is preferable to avoid indoor visits from young children as maintaining social distance can be difficult.
      • Babies and very young infants who are not mobile do not count towards the two visitor at a time indoor limit.
      • Children aged 11 and over should wear the same PPE as adult visitors.
      • Children aged 11 and over should be tested, with parental consent, prior to indoor visits and visits in visitor pods or similar structures where a fixed floor to ceiling screen is not in place.

      Will I be able to hold hands with my loved one?

      Visitors and residents may now hold hands without wearing gloves.

      Visitors should wash hands before and after any contact with the resident or their environment and cover broken skin with a waterproof dressing or plaster before contact.

      Please be cautious with close interactions such as hugs and kisses. This presents less risk if it is between people who are fully vaccinated, without face-to-face contact, and there is brief contact only.

      Can I take my loved one out for a short amount of time?

      We can support residents to leave their care home for short periods of time.

      If this is something you would like to do, please speak to your home manager or deputy to discuss your options. We will need to work together to complete an individual risk assessment to ensure this can be done safely.

      How will visits be managed safely?

      We have a number of extra measures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, colleagues and visitors.

      We require visitors to go through our screening protocol, take a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) if required for the type of visit, and also wear a face covering in communal areas of the care home and follow our infection control measures i.e. sanitising your hands.

      What is a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test?

      Lateral flow tests are designed to deliver targeted and focused, rapid testing for people without typical symptoms of Covid-19 but who may still be carrying the virus, undetected. The test takes just 30 minutes to produce a result. For more information and to understand what to expect, please read this guidance.

      If your type of visit requires a test, you will need to arrive at the home 30 minutes before your visiting appointment to carry out the test. Designated and deputy visitors will need to complete this consent form beforehand.

      What if I test positive?

      Unfortunately, visits will not be able to take place if you test positive. You will need to book a free PCR test through the government website (gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test).

      If your result is negative, you can provide the home with your test result as evidence and reschedule your visit.

      Do I have to be tested to visit?

      Indoor visitors are required to be tested on arrival at the home, 30 minutes before their visiting appointment. You can read more here about what to expect when doing a lateral flow test.

      Testing is not required for outdoor visits unless you have to go through the care home to access the garden. Where a test is required, please arrive at the home 30 minutes before your visiting appointment.

      Where a visitor is already part of a routine testing programme i.e. teachers, they can bring their latest LFD test cartridge (the test must have been completed within the two days prior to the appointment) and email notification to the visit as evidence. If sufficient evidence is not available, visitors will be required to carry out a test at the home.

      Testing is really important to help us to identify people who might be carrying coronavirus but are not showing symptoms. Alongside our other infection prevention and control measures, testing helps us to keep our care homes and your loved ones safe.

       

       

      I’m not feeling well, can I still visit?

      Please do not visit our care homes if you:

      • are felling unwell
      • are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms
      • have tested positive for Covid-19 
      • are awaiting a test result
      • have been advised to self-isolate by a contact tracer from NHS Test Trace Protect

      If you are no longer able to attend your visit, please let the care home know, if possible. Click here for contact details.

      What is your screening protocol?

      Visitors will need to complete a screening form when they arrive at every visit as part of our measures to protect our residents’ and colleagues’ health at this time.

      It includes a number of checks to confirm visitors’ well-being such as where they have travelled in the last 14 days, if they are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, body temperature and hand washing.

      What is the procedure if someone becomes unwell?

      If there is an active incident or outbreak in our service then indoor visits will have to be suspended (apart from exceptional circumstances) for a period of 21 days in line with Public Health Wales guidance.

      We will contact those directly affected as a matter of priority and also inform all other care home residents and family members.

      During a Covid-19 outbreak at the care home, one designated essential visitor may continue to visit a resident regularly indoors provided the resident or visitor do not themselves have Covid-19 (unless there are exceptional circumstances).

      This will ensure that people can continue to benefit from regular visits by a designated essential visitor when wider restrictions on routine visits maybe in place.