As of the week commencing 24th August 2020, Comhairle care homes will be reintroducing indoor visiting to care homes. The Director of Public Health has confirmed that the Western Isles has had very low levels of COVID-19 infection throughout the pandemic and that there have been no COVID cases in care home residents or staff, there is no evidence of circulating virus as of 23rd August 2020.
The Scottish Government demands that care homes meet certain requirements prior to indoor visits commencing, including:
A need to complete their own risk assessments, make the physical space ready to allow indoor visiting and to ensure there is adequate PPE to support safe visiting;
An appropriate cleaning regime, in line with health protection guidance should be in place;
Duty rotas must be sufficient to ensure that adequate staff are in place to manage indoor and outdoor visiting simultaneously, as well as all the required cleaning regimes etc.
A Comhairle spokesperson said: “Through the continued hard work of care home staff in preparation for indoor visiting and through the evident partnership working between Health and Social Care managers, care homes are well placed to manage this next stage of the recovery plan. Understandably, there are strict conditions attached to any visits taking place, and all nominated visitors will be provided with written guidance prior to visits.
Care home managers will be making contact with nominated visitors in the coming days to agree on a visiting schedule. We have to manage the numbers of visitors carefully, avoiding too many visits on the same day. Ideally there will be a single nominated visitor, as this helps reduce the risk further but where there is to be a change of visitor, then we ask that the normal nominated visitor informs the care home of any proposed changes. We also ask that if for whatever reason a visitor is unable to attend a visit, then the notify the care home as early as possible, as this visit can be utilised by someone else.
We once again want to thank residents and family members alike for their continued patience and understanding. It is more important than ever that we continue to conform to the national guidance in terms of infection prevention and control. It is by doing so that we have been able to move to this most welcome of developments.”