Care home FAQs
Published 19 March (updated 13 April)
Following the Welsh Government’s announcement on 12 March, visits are now able to take place where it is safe and possible to do so. You can view the latest Welsh Government guidance here.
We understand the huge benefits that visiting brings and we fully support reconnecting residents with loved ones in line with the latest guidance. To do this safely, we kindly ask for your full support.
While this is a positive step forward, visits are not without risk and we must all remain vigilant to limit the transmission of the virus, particularly into our care homes.
The type of visit available varies per care home so please contact your care home to find out more and to book an appointment.
A home with an active incident or outbreak are only able to offer window visits.
Please read our frequently asked questions below for more information.
Key points from the Welsh Government guidance
- All visits are by pre-arranged appointment at the discretion of the home manager
- Indoor visits are limited to one designated person at a time with social distancing measures in place
- To minimise the risk of transmission of infection in our homes, families are asked to appoint a designated visitor and a deputy. The designated visitor cannot change once selected, and the roles of designated and deputy visitors are not intended to be routinely interchangeable. Before taking on these roles, please consider the level of risk you could pose through your social or occupational contacts
- Indoor and pod visitors will need to have a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test when they arrive at the home, 30 minutes before their appointment time and have completed their LFD testing consent form
- Visitors will need to wear their own face covering for indoor and pod visits
- We recommend that visitors in the shielding category wear a medical mask for indoor and pod visits – facemasks can be provided by the home if needed
- Visiting can be stopped at any time and at short notice if local rates of Covid-19 transmission in the community exceed 5%, if the national level rises or if there’s an outbreak in the home
What visits are allowed?
Following the latest guidance, we are now able to offer window, pod and indoor safe area visits where it is safe to do so.
Indoor visit: one designated visitor who will need to have a lateral flow test on arrival and wear a face covering.
Pod visit: up to two visitors (not designated) from the same household (or extended household) if attending at the same time. Visitors will need to have a lateral flow test on arrival and wear a face covering.
Window visit: visitors do not need to be designated but theyshould be from the same household o(or extended household) if visiting at the same time, otherwise social distancing must be maintained. Please contact the care home about the number of people we can safely accommodate per visit.
Please contact your care home for more information about the type of visit they are offering and to book an appointment.
How will visits be managed safely?
Our care homes have created safe, socially-distanced areas where you can sit with your loved one and enjoy each other’s company for a pre-arranged time slot of up to 30 minutes.
We will require visitors to go through our screening protocol, take a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before entering the home or a visiting pod, and also wear a face covering and follow our infection control measures i.e. sanitising your hands.
A member of staff will be present for the duration of the visit. The staff member will attempt to be as unobtrusive as possible but is required in case queries arise, so that visitors can stay in one place for everyone’s protection and safety.
After each visit, the chairs and surrounding area will be disinfected in readiness for the next visitors.
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.
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.
Do I have to be tested to visit?
All visitors will need to be tested for indoor and pod visits. 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.
What if I test positive?
Unfortunately, visits will not be able to 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.
When can I visit?
All visits need to be pre-arranged with the care home so we can ensure we have colleagues available to facilitate your visit safely. Please contact the care home directly to make arrangements.
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 and staffing.
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?
Unfortunately visits from toddlers and young children are currently discouraged.
Our management team at each home will be carrying out assessments for each individual visit which will include consideration for our residents’ health and well-being. If management feel that a visit/s at this stage is high risk for either the resident or the community then we may have to suspend visits at short notice.
Also see ‘What visits are allowed?’ section above.
I’m not feeling well, can I still visit?
Please do not visit our care homes if you are feeling unwell and have:
- any Covid-19 symptoms
- tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 10 days
- anyone in your household or anyone you have been in close contact with has Covid-19 symptoms
- been advised to self-isolate by a contact tracer from NHS Test Trace Protect
- have returned from overseas travel in the last 10 days from a non-exempt country and are required to be in quarantine
If you are no longer able to attend your visit, please let the care home know, if possible.
Will I be able to hug my loved one?
Social distancing will continue to apply. We appreciate that the urge to hug or hold hands will be very strong but this cannot happen at the moment. If it does happen this would mean that your loved one would have to go into isolation for 10 days, in their rooms, to protect our other residents.
I’m concerned that it is too dangerous for visits.
We understand your concern and would like to reassure you that we have a number of extra measures in place to ensure the safety of residents, colleagues and visitors.
Our management team at each home will also be carrying out individual assessments for each visit which will include consideration for our residents’ health and well-being.
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 all 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.
However, window visits are permitted during an outbreak where this can be supported safely.