Visiting Policy

Highpoint Care Ltd, under normal circumstances, welcomes and encourages open visiting to our Homes, if it is safe and acceptable to the resident and does not adversely affect their quality of life in any way. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, visits have been adapted to ensure all our resident’s safety and well-being is maintained.

Visitors will be welcomed in a friendly and courteous way.

Visitor details will be recorded so that the home has a record of visits for track and trace and fire evacuation purposes.

Maintenance visits must be recorded in the maintenance log and a member of staff must be informed to escort the person around the site. Maintenance persons will be required to adhere to the procedures below.

All visitors who enter the home must take a Lateral Flow test and will only be permitted to enter the home once the result has been confirmed as negative. If the result of the test is positive, visitors will be required to take a PCR test and asked to return home immediately and isolate.

If a visitor wishes to discuss any issues relating to a resident or their care, they must be advised to phone a senior staff member as this will reduce the risk of face-to-face contact between visitors and staff.  Staff must always remember to maintain resident confidentiality.

Please read Covid visiting information below which is currently being implemented until further notice.

Covid-19 Socially distanced visiting at Highpoint Care

Highpoint Care recognises that our residents remain vulnerable due to the COVID-19 virus and strict precautions need to continue, including visits. At this time, visits will take place in a dedicated room.  The home has a visiting screen to use for those visitors who do not take a Lateral Flow Test.   Each resident will have named visitors who will have the opportunity to take the LFT as mentioned above prior to the visit.  Access to the building will only be permitted through the designated entrance to the visiting lounge unless the visitor is an essential caregiver, a maintenance contractor or in circumstances such as end of life.

We will carefully discuss our approach to visiting with the families and health professionals caring for residents to ensure guidance is strictly adhered to. We will always aim to consider the resident’s needs and any subsequent decisions made will have been done by consulting with the resident and their families and by taking into consideration individual circumstances and ethical implications in order to ensure that the resident is treated with respect so that their human rights, personal choices, safety and dignity are upheld.

The ongoing pandemic will be under constant review both locally, nationally and within the home and this policy can be subject to change at any time, unfortunately at times with no notice: –

  • A new outbreak/or suspected outbreak at the home.
  • A new outbreak locally which gives the home cause for concern.
  • New guidelines issued by Public Health England / Department of Health & Social Care/ Local authority or any other governing body who has the right to do so.
  • Staff, residents, and visitors will be notified of any change by email or telephone.

We have introduced strict guidance for visitors which will help us to safeguard our residents and staff from possible contamination of the virus: –

  1. ALL visits are to be suspended or cease if any residents are suspected of having or become confirmed cases.
  2. Visitors MUST not visit if they or any of their immediate family members have symptoms or have had a positive test within the preceding 14 days.
  3. Visitors MUST not visit if they have been identified as a CONTACT of a positive case and must self-isolate for 14 days or have been asked to quarantine after a visit abroad.

For anyone who has not taken the LFT test prior to the visit: –

  1. Socially distanced visits only to take place once an individual and setting risk assessment has taken place.
  2. Visits to take place at the window of or within the designated visitor room. A visiting screen will be used to assist social distancing where needed. The room and all furniture will be disinfected between visits.
  3. Risk assessments to be undertaken for the individual resident and their ability to remain a minimum of 2m from their visitor.
  4. A member of staff to oversee the visits always.
  5. Visitors are not permitted to use the toilet facilities.
  6. Visitors will not be provided with any refreshments.
  7. It is possible for someone aged 18 or under to be one of the named visitors, however, this will be with the agreement of the resident/advocate and care home manager.
  8. We recognise that in some cases it may be difficult for someone to make a visit if they are not able to bring children with them. Any visits involving children must be planned and agreed upon with the home manager prior to the visit.
  9. As is the case with visitors of all ages, there should be no close physical contact between babies or young children and the resident they are visiting.
  10. Children aged11 and over must wear PPE the same as adult visitors. Children under 3 should not wear masks, for safety reasons.
  11. Service animals are permitted. However, pets are not permitted due to the difficulties in maintaining social distancing.
  12. Visitors will always be provided with a mask to be worn during the visit.
  13. Visits are by appointment only, for 30 minutes.
  14. Visitors to sanitise their hands on arrival at the home.
  15. Visitors will have temperature checks on arrival.
  16. Visitors to continue to wear PPE as directed by staff and according to current guidance.
  17. If visitors bring toiletries or gifts for their relatives, they must be placed into a plastic bag and left with the care staff, who will disinfect them prior to them entering the building.
  18. Visitors are discouraged from bringing any gifts that cannot be disinfected prior to handling by the resident/staff.
  19. Visitors will be asked to complete the risk assessment in advance (see below).
  20. If children are visiting, we will ask about any illnesses they have recently had, and this may impact them from being allowed to visit.
  21. The visitor’s details will be recorded on our track and trace register and reported through the relevant channels should we be notified that the visitor has contracted or come into contact with a person with COVID-19.

Visitors will be allowed to carry out their own LFT test prior to their visit, this must be done on the day of the visit, (Visitors should obtain their LFT kits from a local Pharmacy, if the home has enough stock of tests, they may be able to provide them to visitors).   Alternatively, Highpoint Care will test the visitors using the Lateral Flow Device equipment prior to a visit. Visitors will be required to continue to book appointments.

Any visitor employed by the NHS will be allowed to show a LAMP test result if it is within a seven-day period.

The policy sets out what the testing process will involve, what it will mean for visitors and other precautions we ask visitors to take to keep our residents and staff safe.

In the event of an outbreak at the home, apart from in exceptional circumstances, visits will be suspended.

What does testing involve?

Visitors will be asked to take a test using a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) prior to their visit or this will be done immediately prior to the visit to test if the visitor is free from Covid-19.

We will ask the visitor to take a throat and nose swab each time they visit.  If the test is carried out at the home the visitor will be notified of the results usually within 30 minutes of the test being taken.  The visitor will be asked to complete the swab themselves supervised by a trained staff member. A swab is a small piece of soft, absorbent material on a plastic stick that is used to take a sample from your nose and throat.

The test is very straightforward, and the visitor will be given instructions on how to carry out the test or supported throughout the process by a member of staff from the care home.

Any visitor that has had a positive test can not be tested for 90 days however they must show proof of the positive test.

Key steps to prepare for during the test include:

  1. When the visitor arrives at the home
  • They will be provided with PPE and asked to put it on following correct donning & doffing procedures (posters will be displayed for guidance), this will include gloves, mask, and apron. A staff member will be available to guide the visitor if required.
  • The visitor’s temperature will be taken by a member of staff.
  • The visitor will be asked to sign a consent form to take the test and share personal information with us and to allow us to enter their details including the test result onto the Track and Trace portal. Test results will be given to the visitor approximately 30 minutes after the test has been taken.
  1. The Test
  • Following guidance, the trained staff member will guide the visitor to take their own throat and nose swab.
  • Once the swab has been taken the visitor will be asked to wait in the test room or in their car until their result is ready which will take approximately 30 minutes. The visitor will not be allowed to move from the room until the result has been returned.
  • Visitors will need to be informed that if a test is inconclusive, they will be asked to take a further test which will result in the time of the visit being put back.
  1. The result of the test will be entered onto the NHS Track and Trace portal by a member of staff.
  • The NHS Track & Trace can link a visitor’s test sample and collect contact details to send to anyone that person may have come into contact with should they receive a positive result.
  • The person completing the registration form will need: –
    • A copy of the test kit barcode — used to track the individual test.
    • The test site ID number — used to link the test to the care home.

Visitors carrying out their own LFT test at home on the same day prior to their visit. 

Once the visitor has taken the test and the result has shown on the test strip they must register the test on https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result or call 119 to register the result, once they have completed this they will receive an email or text confirming their result.  A visitor will only be allowed into the home if they can show evidence of a negative result, in the form of the confirmation text of email from the testing site.

The test kits will be provided to visitors by Highpoint Care in boxes of 7 test kits at a time.

  1. What does the result mean?

If the test is carried out at the home will verbally communicate the result to the visitor and NHS Test & Trace will also send a result via SMS and/or the e-mail​ address provided on the online registration form.

  • Positive –The visitor will have to take a second test which is a confirmatory PCR test which we will provide and register on their behalf. The result will be sent to them in around 72 hours and they will need to self-isolate until the result is received. If a positive result is received, they must isolate for 10 days, NHS Test & Trace will contact them to ask for contact details of anyone who the person has been in contact with. The visitor will not be able to visit and must go home immediately and self-isolate, preferably by not using public transport.
  • Inconclusive – we will ask the visitor to do another LFT test. If this is inconclusive too the visit will be postponed.
  • Negative – the visit will be able to go ahead, the visitor will be asked to comply with all other infection prevention and control measures such as ensuring they always wear PPE.

During the visit – Do’s and Don’ts

Inside the care home, we will ask the visitor to continue to wear a face covering, gloves and apron and always maintain social distancing.

Other behaviours that are allowed during your visit:

  • Providing the visitor is wearing appropriate PPE and following other infection control measures then it will be possible for them to have physical contact with their loved ones, such as holding hands, but this should be minimal as any contact increases the chance of passing on the virus.
  • The screen will be removed if a resident’s visitor has taken an LFD test.

Behaviours that are not allowed during the visit:

  • Taking off any PPE
  • Entering any part of the home that is not designated for the visit.

Resident outside visits

No visit out of a care home during the pandemic is without risk, but there are steps we can take to reduce those risks. We will discuss and agree on arrangements with residents, residents’ named visitors, or their essential care provider in advance.

Decisions about steps to mitigate the risk of an individual resident’s visits out of a care home will be taken with the resident’s assessed needs and circumstances considered. Highpoint Care will balance the benefits of visits out of the care home against a consideration of the risks to others in the home, where necessary.

Individual risk assessments will take into account:

  • the vaccination status of residents, visitors and staff, including the extent of 2nd vaccinations.
  • any testing of those accompanying the resident or who they intend to meet on their visit out.
  • levels of infection in the community.
  • variants of concern in the community.
  • where the resident is going on a visit and what activities they will take part in while on the visit.
  • the mode of transport that residents intend to use.

If our local community is experiencing high, or rapidly rising, levels of infection, or if there is evidence of variants of concern or variants under investigation, the care home manager will seek additional local advice from their local authority DPH.

Highpoint Care Ltd will take the following measures to support safe visits out of the home and to minimise the risk of transmission of infection to our residents and other people they live with in the care home, the following measures will be considered for all visits out of the home: –

  • if appropriate, residents being accompanied by:
    • a member of care home staff
    • one or more of their named visitors, and/or
    • their essential caregiver (where applicable)
  • residents maintaining social distance from anyone who is not one of their named visitors, essential care providers, or care staff and, wherever possible, avoiding close physical contact with those who are supporting their visit to minimise the risk of infection.
  • residents avoiding crowded places.
  • residents avoiding using public transport where possible, especially at peak times; travelling in a family car or private taxi is an acceptable alternative.

Where visits out are accompanied by a named visitor, the visitor should follow the relevant testing regime and receive negative test results in the same way as if they were visiting in.

Where possible, anyone else who the resident meets as part of an indoor visit should undertake a lateral flow device test and receive a negative result on the day of the visit. This can be confirmed by the named visitor. All tests should be reported to the Unique Organisation Number (UON No 10139517 for Damfield Gardens) and (UON No 10017044 for Colliers Croft).

Where residents are visiting a location with an existing testing regime, for example, a workplace, daycare centre or education setting, they should participate in the relevant testing regime for that organisation where possible.

Others involved in the visit should take steps leading up to the visit to minimise the risk to the care resident and others in the care home, recognising that introducing COVID-19 to a care home puts all those who live and work here at risk. This includes receiving a negative test and following good infection control practice including social distancing, hand hygiene, wearing face coverings and avoiding crowded places.

If the resident is being accompanied by a member of care home staff, a risk assessment will be carried out. This will assess the COVID-19 transmission risk to the carer arising from any activities during the visit to ensure that the necessary precautions are in place. This may, for example, include if the care worker is likely to undertake direct personal care.

If necessary, the staff member will take the required additional PPE, as well as the means to safely store or dispose of it, along with a spare, replacement face covering with them when they leave the care home.

Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection risk. It significantly reduces the transmission of the virus, particularly following 2 doses.

It is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take the opportunity to be vaccinated before conducting visits.

In the event of an outbreak in the care home

In the event of an outbreak, all movements out of our setting will be minimised as far as possible.

These restrictions will continue until the outbreak is confirmed as over, which will be at least 14 days after the last laboratory confirmed or clinically suspected cases were identified in a resident or member of staff in the home.

Visiting NHS professionals

The Department of Health and Social Care has published revised guidance on visiting professionals to care homes.

The guidance strengthens the existing approach for testing professional visitors to care homes in order to reduce risks from visits from professionals.

Key changes in relation to visiting NHS professionals are that:

  • Care homes should see evidence from the professional of a negative rapid lateral flow test within the last 72hrs, which shows they are following the NHS staff testing regime
  • NHS professionals visiting care homes should be granted entry if they have a negative test result as part of regular weekly staff testing using LAMP technology.

You must ask the NHS professional when they were last tested and see proof of the result and date of the relevant professional’s test.

Proof may include:

  • an email or text from NHS Test and Trace
  • a screenshot of where the professional has to upload their test result
  • a date-stamped photo of the test cartridge itself
  • signed confirmation from their manager
  • the NHS signed log included with the test kits provided to NHS staff

Below is the risk assessment that should be completed prior to all visits: –

Download Form