Care home visiting task group summary and recommendations

More information about visits for people in care - October 2020

 

This information is from North Yorkshire County Council.

It is about some work we have been doing so that people who live in care can keep in touch with their friends and family.

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In September, we advised all care providers to stop visits until the end of October.

We did this to help people in care to stay safe from Covid-19.

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We said we would keep looking at the rate of infection in North Yorkshire to help us decide what happens after 31 October.
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We asked a group of people to work together to think of ideas about how people can keep in touch. This group includes:

  • people who live in care homes
  • people who have relatives in care homes
  • people who work in or run care homes
  • North Yorkshire County Council health and social care staff.
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The group had three meetings online in October.

People talked about their experiences of the rules about visiting. People said it was hard not being able to see people they love.

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Care providers also said it was difficult to explain to people and families why they could not have visits.
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The group wrote down lots of ideas that might make it easier for people in care to be able to stay in touch with their families and friends.

They called this the Keeping in Touch Plan.

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The group has shared their recommendations with the County Council. We think there are some great ideas. Some are easier to do than others are. We will keep working with the group to try to make these ideas work.
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You can read the group’s ideas below. What do you think of the ideas?

Did they forget anything? You can send us an email at HASCovidComms@northyorks.gov.uk and let us know.

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For more information please visit our visiting care homes during covid-19 page.
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Task Group draft recommendations


1. Designated visitors should be recognised as an important part of residents’ care and support, supporting their mental and physical wellbeing. Designated visitors should only have to do the same Covid-safe steps as staff in the care setting.
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2. More than one family member should be allowed to be a designated visitor.
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3. Make sure designated visitors have access to Covid-testing, the same way that staff do.
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4. Write clear communication for all audiences. This includes residents, families and care providers. This should have clear responsibilities about who makes decisions about restrictions to visiting.
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5. Make easy to use information that help everyone to understand the rules and processes for Covid-safe visiting.

This should include information about people living in different tiers; the type of care setting; and if the person has mental capacity.

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6. Care providers should have a ‘Keeping in Touch Plan’ for each care setting. This should include risk assessments for the setting and for people who live there.

This would include plans for:

  • face to face visits (indoor and outdoor)
  • window visits
  • virtual visits using technology
  • meeting people in the community
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7. Write clear guidance for residents, families and care providers about supporting people to meet with loved ones safely in the local community. This includes a day visit to the home of a friend or family member.
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8. Designated visitors should be given PPE and training on how to use it properly (this could be an online video).
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9. Care staff are often rushed trying to organise visits for people along with their caring duties and other tasks. Some staff also need training about supporting people with visits.

The Government and North Yorkshire County Council should provide funding for training and for extra staff to support organising visits.

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10. There should be support for residents and care staff about using technology to keep in touch. This should include:

  • access to a reliable internet service
  • access to tablets, iPads and smart phones
  • the accessibility of software eg Zoom
  • training for people and care staff

Some advice could be given by Technology Champions – these are residents who are comfortable with using technology to stay in touch and can advise other people. We think technology can also help with other things that reduce isolation e.g. physical and mental health activities, virtual appointments with professionals and social events.

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11. There should be clear information for providers on supporting people who lack capacity to have meaningful contacts and activities.

This includes advice about best-interest decision making and the role of independent advocacy.

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12. There should be standards and advice for care settings about best practice for setting up and management of indoor visiting spaces;

For example, entering and exiting a room using two separate doors.

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13. Consider creating Covid-safe meeting rooms using spaces and buildings in the community. Examples include unused office spaces or library meeting rooms.
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14. Providers should be helped to make shelters to use in the winter for outside visiting. This might be in care home gardens or in the community areas. Local businesses or the military might be able to help.
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15. Have an online peer support forum for providers to raise questions and share good practice about how people and settings are supporting people to stay in touch.
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16. Write clear information for people in care settings who need to use public transport.

This includes working with transport providers to provide information about what they are doing to keep transport clean and Covid-safe.

It also means planning around supporting people with mobility and accessibility issues and appropriate use of PPE.

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17. Have a plan in place so people who normally spend Christmas or other religious festivals with their families and providers know how to prepare.
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