Relaxation of Care Home Restrictions “Very Welcome” for Providers
News of the government’s relaxation of care home visiting restrictions for England on January 31st has been well received by both care providers and residents’ families.
In a recent radio interview with LBC, Healthcare Management Solutions CEO Tony Stein said: “To have some relaxation now is very very welcome.”
With considerable years of experience operating within the care sector, Healthcare Management Solutions understands how important it is for care home residents to see their loved ones and the benefits regular visiting can have on health and wellbeing.
Throughout the pandemic, the organisation has closely followed government guidance on care home visiting and directives issued by the directors of public health. This has led to care homes being closed to visiting, except for end of life visits, for 28 days following two or more reported cases in the resident or staff population. In some cases, a care home may have been cleared to reopen to visiting at the end of its 28 days only for further positive cases to present a short while later, curtailing visiting for another 28 days.
Reopening to Visiting Sooner
As part of the government’s updated care home visiting guidance for England, the period in which visiting must be restricted following an outbreak of a known variant of Covid-19 has been reduced to 14 days.
Commenting on this relaxation, Mr Stein said: “Clearly we still have to risk assess these situations, but we also have to follow the guidance. So if the guidance tells us we have to do certain things, then we have to do that. So the fact that has been relaxed gives us a lot more latitude.”
The updated government care home visiting guidance for England also removes universal restrictions on the number of visitors each resident may receive. This may now be determined by the provider and based on individual risk assessments of each care home, including its size, layout and the needs of its residents and visitors. In addition, each resident is encouraged to nominate an essential caregiver who would be able to visit even if a home is closed due to an outbreak.
A Milder Variant
During the interview, Mr Stein acknowledges that the evidence of the Omicron variant presenting with milder illness makes these relaxations justified. “What we’ve seen with a lot of the positive cases that have caused us to close our services, is that these positive cases are not actually with people who are ill. We’ve had a number of positive cases through the staff workforce and very few people have been particularly ill with this variant.”
The news of a reduction in the isolation period for those who test positive for Covid-19 has also been welcomed by the team at Healthcare Management Solutions. With the recruitment of care staff currently proving to be much more difficult, Mr Stein said the reduction from 7 days of isolation to 5 will help to maintain staffing levels.
Healthcare Management Solutions offers a full care home management solution, taking care of everything from quality monitoring to operations, HR to IT. With the ability to provide robust policies and procedures alongside digital systems to monitor service performance, we can help you navigate the challenges you may be facing.
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