Relatives, Friends & Representatives,
Following on from my letter on 30 November which highlighted the risks of Omicron, the new variant of COVID-19. The Welsh government have issued additional guidance to Care Homes.
The primary changes that affect visitors are:
- Visits out of the home should cease during COVID-19 outbreaks
- Visits into the home should be restricted to essential visitors only during an outbreak.
- Visitors should wear face coverings while in a resident’s room or a designated visiting area.
- Care Homes should generally limit visiting to frequent visitors who are more familiar, and can comply with visiting procedures in place.
- Care Homes should risk assess requests from less frequent visitors, to ensure they fully understand the procedures in place
- Visitors should continue to produce evidence of a negative LFD test taken no more than 24 hours before the visit takes place.
For clarity, an Outbreak is defined as two or more positive COVID cases among residents or staff.
The guidance now requires our colleagues to test before every shift, although it was a measure we had already introduced after news of the Omicron variant broke in the national press.
As in my letter on 30 November, I appeal to you again to consider limiting visits to the bare minimum. We are seeking to find the optimal balance between the emotional support visits provide, and reducing the risk of infection that comes with increased visiting.
Please consider the following questions when booking or requesting a visit:
- Is the visit essential for the residents emotional and physical well-being?
- If an in-person visits is essential, can these be less frequent?
- Can meaningful contact be achieved without visiting in person, via telephone or video conferencing?
- Can meaningful contact be achieved by the designated essential visitor only?
Thank you for your ongoing support in keeping all residents safe. We will continue to work with you all on an individual basis, assessing the specific needs of each person based on their personal circumstances.
Wishing you all a very merry Christmas.