FAMILY and friends are being asked for a little more patience as care homes prepare new arrangements ready to welcome visitors back.
Following guidance stating people can visit loved ones inside care home under strict new rules Solihull Council and NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group have been working to make sure visits are safe.
The national guidance states ‘visiting should be supported and enabled wherever it is possible to do so safely – in line with this guidance and within a care home environment that takes proportionate steps to manage risks’.
The rapid (lateral flow) testing kits will support increased visiting but will not be available straight away and are expected over the coming weeks – according to Solihull Council.
Care homes will then need to train staff quickly to deliver these tests, which will be used with visitors.
The guidance is clear that care homes must have other arrangements in place before receiving visitors.
The homes are working to put in place all the necessary arrangements and it is especially important they prepare properly, as Solihull is a Tier three area.
The guidance also confirms that in the event of an outbreak, visiting should be suspended immediately except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life.
Jenny Wood, director of adult care and support at Solihull Council, said: “While this planned return to visiting loved ones is really welcome news, we are asking people to be patient with care homes in Solihull as they first prepare to put in place the new arrangements.
“With additional staff training, site preparation, new arrangements for booking and logging visitors, support for visitors to put on the appropriate PPE and implementation of the new testing arrangements, there is a lot to do.”
She added when the arrangements for visiting are in place at each care home, including the visitor testing, the care homes will let families know.
Ruth Tennant, Solihull’s director of Public Health, added the importance of testing visitors to help reduce the risk of an outbreak and urged anyone with symptoms not to visit loved ones.
Helen Jenkinson, chief nurse, NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Solihull care homes are also keen to remind families and friends that the safety of their residents remains their priority.
“Care homes will still be taking a measured approach to receiving visitors in a safe way, following robust infection prevention measures and taking into account their specific circumstances as well as the layout of their home and the individual needs of their residents and staff.”