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Harlow Care Homes able to re-instate visiting arrangements

Health / Sun 9th Aug 2020 at 09:27am

Essex Care Homes able to re-instate visiting arrangements

ESSEX Care Homes have been given the go-ahead to decide whether to allow visitors, after the Government published a recent update on visiting arrangements.

Arrangements were temporarily paused in care homes across the county in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The government recently updated guidance around care home visits and delegated decisions around local arrangements to Directors of Public Health.

Having reviewed the guidance and examined the local data Dr Mike Gogarty, Director for Public Health in Essex has determined that the level of infection is now low enough that in care homes where there is no current outbreak and where the home is not rated ‘red’ by the local care home hub, care home managers can now decide to re-instate visits, in line with appropriate safety measures.

Homes will be required to carry out a full risk assessment prior to allowing visitors to return and where visits do go ahead, they will be limited to a single, consistent visitor, per resident, wherever possible in order to minimise the risk.

If an outbreak is suspected at any time, visiting arrangements will be stopped and reviewed immediately.

Cllr John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said “I know this will be welcome news for a lot of Essex residents who have spent the past few months unable to visit their loved ones.

“We cannot underestimate the emotional toll not being able to see elderly relatives will have taken on many families during this time, and indeed for the residents themselves, and I would like to thank anyone in this position for the sacrifice they have made.”

Mike Gogarty, Essex County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “This update from the Government marks another step forward in our journey to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m confident that the conditions are right for care homes in Essex to decide how they might re-instate their visiting arrangements.

“However, it is vital that these visits are managed carefully in order to mitigate any potential risk; appropriate social distancing and hand hygiene will continue to be integral to how successful these arrangements are. We will be monitoring the situation carefully and will not hesitate to take action if needed.”

It will be down to individual care homes to determine arrangements and any family members wishing to visit a loved one should contact the home for more details.

The updated guidance around care home visits can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes

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