In Wirral, face-to-face visits to care homes from family or friends are currently limited to exceptional circumstances only. This is because care home residents are vulnerable, and at greater risk if exposed to Coronavirus.
While maintaining contact with family and friends is hugely important to those who live in care homes, at this time of raised community infection rates, families are asked to keep in touch by other means. This might be via Skype, Facetime, or other video call software – care home staff will be able to advise.
To decide whether a face-to-face visit is allowed, an individual risk assessment will be carried out. Residents, family members and staff will all be involved in making this decision. To reduce the risk of COVID-19, it might be that a video call or garden / window visit is more suitable at the moment.
Janette Williamson, Leader of Wirral Council, said:
“We know that this is a heart-breaking time for residents to be separated from their loved ones, and it is particularly challenging for those who have elderly relatives living in care homes.
“Staff are finding creative ways for family and friends to see each other and keep in touch. But to avoid risking the spread of infection, in person visits are to be avoided as much as possible just now.
“We understand it is different for care home residents receiving end of life care, so we ask that any approved visitors wear a face covering and wear Personal Protective Equipment if asked to do so. They will also need to respect social distancing rules and follow hand hygiene guidelines during their visit.
“If you would like to visit a loved one in a care home and have any concerns or questions as to whether this can take place, please speak to the care home manager to agree on the right approach for you.”
There are many factors that will be taken into consideration when making a decision around visiting.
These will include:
- the wellbeing of the resident
- the current rate of COVID-19 infections locally
- the individual circumstances of the care home
Visiting arrangements will be kept under close review.