Dear relatives and friends,

Followings yesterday’s announcement I wanted to give you an update which will no doubt require a further update by the end of the week.

For all of us, the pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges. One of the greatest challenges has been how we balance the protection of our residents from COVID-19 against the need to remain connected to family and friends.

Family and friends have always been and continue to be essential to the well-being of everyone who lives in our care homes.

As everyone knows we made the decision to close our doors in early March, a decision that we know saved many lives. Since then we have been working hard to ensure residents remain connected to their families by a variety of means including outdoor garden visits, window visits, face time and zoom meetings.

To ensure we do all we can to keep families and friends connected we have introduced a brand new role, the “resident and family liaison officer”. Each home will now have a named person whose responsibility will be to support a regular two-way flow of information between families and residents, for example, sending letters and photographs daily via email, setting up video chat sessions and making sure residents receive the little gifts that you know are so important to them. Their details can be found at the bottom of the letter.

As we have moved into Autumn and the weather has turned colder the visits now take place indoors, in designated visiting facilities. The screening questionnaire completed by you prior to any visit is still required, together with COVID 19 symptom checking at the time of the visit.

We continue with all the infection control processes mentioned in previous letters and have a range of additional infection control audits that we regularly complete to ensure everything possible is done to keep everyone safe.

The staff have been truly incredible, not only by the way these additional processes are followed but the passion and commitment to continually find ways to improve safe ways of working.

We have all worked incredibly hard to find ways to keep people in touch with their loved ones and we’ll continue to campaign for this. Local circumstances do have a bearing on what we are able to do and there are conditions each home must meet to enable visiting to take place.

One of these conditions is the completion of a weekly risk assessment which identifies the number of confirmed cases within the locality of the home by Post Code. Once this is completed the Director of Public Health authorises whether or not visits can take place.
The current guidance is due to be reviewed this week in light of the restrictions that come into force on Thursday but whatever is published I want to reassure you that I have campaigned, along with others, to ask for a new default position to be agreed that allows care homes to remain open for visiting, subject to homes being COVID safe. This means as long as there isn’t an outbreak and confirmation that robust infection control measures are in place we will welcome you all into our homes.

Our visiting policies are working well and we are confident that we can keep everyone safe whilst also keeping families connected.

I would also like to use this opportunity to assure you that despite the seemingly gloomy outlook, life in our homes continues to be full of happiness, fun and laughter. We are all dedicated to the care and wellbeing of each resident and we will continue to do everything possible to make sure people remain safe and our homes COVID free.

We will continue to campaign for safe indoor face to face visits supported by the rapid testing for families and essential visitors.

Best Wishes

Karen Rogers
Herefordshire Care Homes

Your Resident and Families Liaison email addresses are: