Dorset Council, BCP Council and health partners are reminding relatives of people in care homes and supported living to contact providers directly before visiting, amidst rising cases of COVID-19 in the local community.
Managers in care homes and supported living have been working hard to facilitate visiting wherever possible, but with situations changing on a daily basis, the safety of residents and staff must come first. In some cases, that may mean that visits in person can’t currently go ahead.
Current government guidance allows residents to visit relatives in care homes, but states that providers will need to make their own assessments regarding how visiting is managed. With cases of COVID-19 rising sharply locally, this has meant that many homes have suspended visiting in all but exceptional circumstances, such as the end of life.
Where face-to-face visiting isn’t possible, staff will ensure that relatives can stay in touch with their loved ones virtually, and support residents to help them connect with their family members.
Anna Knight, Chair of the Dorset Care Homes Association, said:
“We know just how important it is for relatives to see their loved ones, and how difficult this situation is for everyone involved. Managers in care homes and supported living are making incredibly difficult decisions on a daily basis about visiting, but they must prioritise the safety of residents and staff.
“Providers have worked tirelessly to manage visiting safely but in some cases, reduced staff levels and the additional workload involved in the required safety measures mean it simply isn’t possible. We cannot put lives at risk.
“It’s vital that relatives contact their service provider directly to find out whether visiting is currently possible and please bear with us as we work through these incredibly tough and unprecedented times.”