Families with loved ones in Oldham care homes will now be able to have more meaningful visits this Christmas – thanks to Oldham Council and its partners.
The Council, care home managers and a number of partners have been working to find ways to make care home visiting safe and to allow families to be reunited.
Arrangements have now been set up to allow family members and friends to visit loved ones in Oldham care homes. The availability of new rapid coronavirus tests will be used to ensure visiting can start this week.
Combined with other infection prevention and control measures, such as personal protective equipment (PPE), it will allow homes to support residents to have long awaited full visits with loved ones.
As part of plans, the care homes must carry out site-based risk assessments that have been agreed locally and to ensure that they protect the most vulnerable residents.
Care homes will start internal visits in the next few days. All visits will be via booked appointments only. Window and pod visits (where available on site) can still also take place.
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “This is great news for all those families who have missed being able to see their loved ones in care homes and we are glad we have been able to rectify this in Oldham.
“We have been able to produce a detailed plan that weighs the benefits for wellbeing and quality of life, with the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to staff and vulnerable residents.”
“We ask for people’s understanding because it will be very challenging to organise internal visits for all our residents as frequently as they may wish. The home must follow a strict booking, testing and cleaning regime ensuring that visits don’t put residents at unnecessary risk.
“Visitors will be expected to have two tests. The first will be a standard Coronavirus test to take place up to 72 hours before the booked visit. The second `rapid’ test, with results in 30 minutes, can be undertaken on the day either at the care home or at the Queen Elizabeth Hall testing site. All visitors will receive guidance letters via the care homes and all care homes will have received the test kits by the end of the week.
“Care homes will be responsible for making sure staff undertake training and are clear of the procedures.
In the event of an outbreak in a care home, apart from exceptional circumstances, visits will not go ahead.
Oldham Council will now work closely with Care Homes to make this great piece of news happen in the next few days.”