We understand how trying and exhausting these last 2 years have been and although the thought of the world opening up again is met with excitement and some impatience, there is also a sense of nervousness as our lives return to some sense of normality.
Athena welcomes the updated government guidance and the moves forward as positive, with our duty of care to our residents, their loved ones and our team members remaining paramount and at the fore of everything we do.
We will continue to encourage everybody to receive booster vaccinations, with the spring booster now available. It is important for this to continue as the implementation of this across the country has allowed the continued removal of restrictions.
We would like to advise you of the main changes contained within the official guidance and hopefully clarify any queries you may have around visiting:
Visitors to the home will no longer be required to book in advance. We would appreciate if there is a group of four or more people visiting, we are given prior notice of this, to enable us to facilitate an area for your visit.
Visitors are no longer required to undertake an LFT test prior to visiting or complete the health declaration form upon arrival.
We would encourage people who are planning to visit a home and maybe have a distance to travel, please contact the home prior to starting your journey, to ensure there are no restrictions to visiting in place.
Residents can leave the building freely, with no requirement for lateral flow testing upon return.
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome our residents and visitors back into our café areas, where restrictions have been lifted by the Health Protection Agency. Please check with the home’s reception team upon arrival, who will be more than happy to assist you. We will continue with our in-home enhanced cleaning schedules. Cleansing wipes and alcohol gel will be available in all café areas, for you to use in assisting us with our continued infection control measures, to enable the wipe down of all tables and chairs after use. Your assistance is greatly welcomed and appreciated.
The infection prevention measures outlined below are continuing.
Infection Prevention and Control
Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster.
Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19.
If visitors have any symptoms that suggest other transmissible viruses and infections, such as cough, high temperature, diarrhoea or vomiting, they should avoid the care home until at least 5 days after they feel better.
People who are known to the home as an “essential caregiver” will no longer be required to undertake an LFT test prior to each visit.
In the event of a Covid – 19 outbreak within the home, then essential caregivers will be required to undertake a LFT test twice weekly in line with our staff testing regime.
Visitors should wear a face mask when visiting the care home, particularly when moving through the care home. COVID-19 spreads through the air by droplets and aerosols that are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person. Face masks reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially when there is close contact between people in enclosed, poorly ventilated and crowded spaces. It is important that face masks fit securely around the face to safely cover the mouth, nose and chin.
Closure of the home due to infection outbreak
We must continue to inform the Health Protection Agency if we have two or more people who tested positive, (resident/or staff).
The Health Protection Agency will advise the home on what precautions to take until the outbreak has finished. This could be whole home closure, or closure of one community. This is really dependant on how the home has been affected by the outbreak.
Outbreak restrictions will be in place for different lengths of time, depending on the characteristics of the outbreak and the results of outbreak testing. Otherwise, outbreak recovery testing should be undertaken when there have been 10 days with no new cases. If no new cases are found, outbreak restrictions can then normally be lifted following consultation with the Health Protection Agency.
The home will be continuing to offer visits via windows and secure visiting pods in the event of an outbreak situation. We will also continue to support contact by providing contact with loved ones through video calls, telephone calls, letters, post cards etc…
Visits in all circumstances
Any outbreak of infection within a care home setting inevitably has an impact on visiting arrangements.
During an outbreak, indoor visits to the home will be stopped, with the following exception to this requirement:• Any visits to a resident who is at the end stage of life are able to continue.• Any person named as an essential care giver, may still visit the home, unless the person they are visiting or the essential care giver themselves, tests positive for Covid-19.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding. Please do not hesitate to contact the home management team if you would like further advice and support.