For much of the UK, 19th July marked an end to many of the COVID-19-related restrictions we’ve lived with for so long. Most people, even where masks are now entirely optional, are choosing to remain cautious in order to protect themselves and others. With our greatest priority being the safety of our residents, we’re continuing to adopt an extremely cautious approach at Baycroft too. We spoke with Head of Baycroft Michelle Baden to see what’s changed, and what hasn’t.
Care home hygiene and staff PPE
“We are continuing our regimen of regular, enhanced antiviral cleaning of interiors and surfaces, particularly common touchpoints and any areas receiving visitors. Every surface in every visitor room is cleaned thoroughly in between every visit.
As before, all goods, packages, post, gifts and other items brought into any Baycroft home are treated with antiviral wipes at the point of entry.
Staff carry antiviral gel with them at all times and disinfect in between caring for each resident. They wear approved face masks at all times in every home and when administering personal care they wear an approved apron and gloves as well.
The majority of our staff are now fully vaccinated, and all are required to have two LFTs (lateral flow tests) and a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test every week.
Our rules for care home visitors
While government guidance now says that care home residents can have unlimited numbers of visitors, we’re keen to retain an environment where everyone gets to see the people they care about – and feel safe while they’re seeing them.
Before the restrictions officially lifted, residents were allowed one essential carer to visit regularly and offer physical and emotional support, as well as up to five nominated family or friends. Nationwide, there’s now no limit on the number of visitors, but some local authorities continue to advise a maximum of five. We are following local authority guidance, so it is best to check with your care home about the rules in place. All visits, apart from by essential carers, take place in designated visiting spaces indoors or outside in our gardens.
Because each home has a different number of residents and varying numbers and sizes of visiting rooms, we do still need all visits to be prebooked and for visitors to log and present a negative LFT test taken that day. You can do the test at home and simply show us the evidence on arrival. The good news is that because we’ve become so practised with our processes, arranging visits is quick and easy, and we have enough capacity that nobody is waiting for long for their appointment!
Once in the home, wearing a mask is compulsory, and we ask visitors to limit physical contact to reduce the risk of transmission unless wearing approved PPE. You can, however, hold hands if everyone washes their hands immediately beforehand.
Visiting your home and other places
Finally, our residents are delighted to be able to go out on visits, whether that’s a simple trip to the sea front or going to visit family for Sunday lunch. We do still undertake risk assessments for all trips out and request evidence of negative LFT tests from anyone that our residents will be spending time with. There is, of course, no need to quarantine on return and we are continuing to test our residents once a month unless there’s any reason to test sooner.
Care home move ins and tours
For the moment, most tours of our care homes for potential residents and their families are conducted virtually. In our newer homes, where there is a completely vacant floor, we are able to conduct an in-person tour, but for the time being it won’t be possible to visit any areas in use by our residents.
Virtual and in-person tours can be arranged by contacting the care home concerned directly.
Assuming there is room at the particular Baycroft home that you’re interested in, we’re able to welcome new residents – just as we have throughout the crisis – after the usual careful assessments.
Residents moving in from another care setting or from hospital must undertake a 14-day quarantine period in their room, to protect other residents. While isolation is far from ideal, we do make sure anyone who has to isolate gets lots of personal attention and is still able to join in with other residents on quizzes, games and so forth using our tablets.
New residents coming from their own homes will need to be double-vaccinated plus 3 weeks and produce a negative PCR test before their arrival in order to avoid the isolation period in place for those coming from hospital or care settings.
If you have any questions about our guidelines, would like to arrange a virtual tour, an in-person visit to see your loved one or to arrange to take them for a trip out, please get in touch with your care home manager.