Coronavirus - Covid-19

Abbeyfield is continuing to follow government advice and has complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19.

Ensuring residents’ health and wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do at Abbeyfield and we aim to reflect this both in the way we support the houses and homes that we directly manage and in the guidance we provide to our Member Societies.

We are continually monitoring the government and Public Health Bodies for the latest advice about COVID-19, which includes following specific guidance for those in social or community care and residential settings and advice from the National Care Forum

Procedural guidance is regularly reviewed and communicated across the Abbeyfield Family with the aim of keeping residents, volunteers and staff as well informed and as safe as possible.

Below you can find information about how we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic across Abbeyfield’s centrally managed services in England.

Information for the relatives of our residents

  • Can I visit my family member?

    Updated 23 July 2021

    Visits to our care homes

    In line with government guidance, from 19th July the number limit on Named Visitors has been lifted meaning that there is no restriction on the total number of Named Visitors that a resident can nominate for indoor visits. However, to enable safe visiting opportunities for all residents, it is Abbeyfield’s policy that each resident may continue to receive up to two Named Visitors at a time or over one day. This limit does not include any essential visitors.

    Before every indoor visit, each Named Visitor is required to have a rapid lateral flow test and produce a negative result. If you are not testing on-site you will be asked to provide evidence of a negative test from earlier that day.

    From 21 June, every care home resident – not only those with higher care needs – may choose to nominate an Essential Caregiver to visit the home to attend to essential care needs and immediate health and wellbeing. Essential Caregivers will be enabled to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak, as far as possible and will be part of the home’s regular testing programme. If you would like to find out more about the Essential Caregiver role, please speak to the relevant Care Home Manager.

    Residents can also continue to receive visitors without the need for rapid lateral flow testing using outdoor and ‘screened’ visits in line with local arrangements at the individual home. Outdoor or ‘screened’ visitors are subject to an upper limit of no more than five visitors at any one time or over the course of one day.

    Babies and pre-school age children do not count as one of the visitors allowed at any one time, but we ask that each visiting adult brings only one baby or pre-school age child. Please ensure any children are supervised by a responsible adult at all times and that any children over the age of three wear a face covering of their own.

    Visiting options will depend on the circumstances of the individual home, facilities and surrounding environment so please do contact your home to find out what the options are.

    All visits, whether indoors or outdoors, should be pre-booked and a screening form completed. We encourage you to observe social distancing and appreciate your continued efforts to practice good hand hygiene while in and around the care home, and to wear any PPE provided to you. Though face coverings are no longer required by law, all visitors should continue to wear a mask provided by the home.

    Named Visitors and Essential Caregivers may hold hands if hand washing protocols are followed. Close personal contact such as hugging presents higher risks but will be safer if it is between people who are double vaccinated, without face-to-face contact, and there is brief contact only.

    As always, where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the home, all but essential visits will be paused until the outbreak is over. If you have any questions about visiting your loved one please don’t hesitate to contact the home manager.

    Visits out of our care homes

    Updated 23 July

    In line with Step 4 of the roadmap out of lockdown, the government updated its guidance on Visits out of care homes with effect from 19 July.  We have taken account of this and also the latest guidance on Admission and care of people in care homes

    Residents are able to leave the care home subject to an individualised risk assessment for each visit out of the home. Except for visits assessed to be high-risk and overnight stays in hospital, residents do not need to self-isolate on their return.

    Testing is required for the person accompanying the resident out and is advised for others who will be involved in the outing.

    Please discuss any arrangements for visits out with the Home Manager in advance so that the appropriate risk assessment can be completed and arrangements made for the outing.

    Visits to our supported housing settings

    Updated 23 July

    While legal restrictions for the general on the numbers of people that you can meet have ended, Abbeyfield housing residents are asked not to have more than two visitors indoors at any one time. We would be grateful if this could be adhered to. This is to reflect the high transmission of COVID-19 at the current time and increased risks associated with communal living arrangements where facilities are shared and the size of the accommodation in traditional Abbeyfield houses.

    Children are able to visit under the close supervision of an adult from their household, and any child under the age of two does not need to be counted towards the number of visitors.

    In line with government recommendation for visitors to participate in testing to reduce the risk of introduction of infection through asymptomatically infected people, LFD testing remains a requirement for all indoor visiting in Abbeyfield supported housing settings. Before every indoor visit you are required to complete a screening form and have a rapid lateral flow test which produces a negative result on the day of the visit. Please speak to the staff team regarding the local arrangements for testing at the individual house. If on-site testing is not available, the test should be carried out at a local community testing centre, or at home using a home testing kit. If you are not testing on site you will be asked to provide evidence of a negative test.

    Residents are asked to limit the number of outdoor visitors to five at any one time to enable other residents to also receive visitors outdoors at the same time. Outdoor visitors do not need to complete a rapid lateral flow test although you will need to complete a screening form, and avoid going inside the property during your visit. Children under the age of 18 can visit in the garden as long as they are accompanied by a supervising adult.

    Please continue to pre-book all visits, whether indoors or in the garden, are in advance. Testing does not completely remove all risk so we encourage you to observe social distancing and appreciate your continued efforts to practice good hand hygiene while in and around the property, and wear any PPE provided to you. Masks are not required for outdoor visits but should be worn for indoors.

    Where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the setting, all but essential visits will stop until further advice is given from the local health protection team.

    If you have any queries please contact the individual house.

    Visits to our independent living settings

    Residents in our independent living settings, where all accommodation is self-contained and there are no shared facilities, are asked to limit indoor visits to up to six visitors or one other household, subject to risk assessment. For all other aspects of visiting including testing, outdoor visiting and children, please refer to the supported housing guidance outlined above.

    In line with government recommendation for visitors to participate in testing to reduce the risk of introduction of infection through asymptomatically infected people, LFD testing remains a requirement for all indoor visiting in Abbeyfield independent living settings.

    If you are unsure about anything please speak to the home manager.

  • Does the vaccination programme impact visiting arrangements?

    We are currently working with the Local Authorities and NHS trusts on facilitating the roll out of the vaccine for our staff and residents.

    In line with government restrictions, the current visiting arrangements will continue to apply, even if a resident and/or family member has been vaccinated. 

    As outlined in the government’s guidance, vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection. It significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after 2 doses. The government strongly recommends that residents and visitors receive 2 doses of the vaccine before conducting visits or outings.

    The safety of our residents and staff remains our top priority and we continue to maintain the same standards of vigilance in protecting them from infection.

  • What about support bubbles?

    Unfortunately given that our residents are categorised in the most vulnerable group and that the vast majority of our services are group living environments, the idea of creating a support bubble cannot apply to our houses and homes. This is because for one person to explore these new freedoms risks everybody at the house or home. We will of course keep you informed if this guidance changes.

  • What measures are you taking to ensure the safety of your residents?

    Our priority continues to be preventing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining the safety of our residents, their visitors and our staff.

    In light of the advice that older people must be particularly cautious, we are applying the social distancing principle to our houses and homes as much as is feasible to reduce the risk of infection spreading between residents. 

    We are taking the same precautions with our staff, and any staff member displaying symptoms will not be allowed to enter our services until they have completed the self isolation required by Public Health bodies. We provide regularly updated guidance to all of our employees and have appropriate stocks of PPE to ensure our staff can care for all residents safely and minimise any potential risk of COVID-19 transmission.

    Since the beginning of the pandemic we have introduced more stringent cleaning measures and continue to do so. To help reduce the risk of infection we are supporting residents to wash their hands with soap and water on a more frequent basis and are offering alcohol hand gel throughout the day.

    All visiting arrangements will be suspended (aside from those classes as essential visitors which include those visiting residents at the end of life and Essential Caregivers) where there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within a service.

  • My relative is on end of life care; can I visit them?

    If a resident is approaching the end of their life, visiting will be accommodated on compassionate grounds.  You will be shown how to use the correct PPE and must wash your hands thoroughly when entering and leaving the building. Please contact the service manager in advance, who will make arrangements with you so that you can visit your relative safely.  

  • How are you supporting your residents during this difficult time?

    We are continuing to do everything we can to keep life as normal as possible for our residents during the pandemic. Being isolated and unable to see loved ones for weeks on end can have a detrimental effect on both physical and mental health, so it has been more important than ever to support our residents through this difficult time. We have been finding creative ways to provide entertainment and a sense of connection with others such as a pen-pal scheme, activity packs, games, virtual tours and exercise classes. Our dedicated staff team is on-hand to support residents to stay in touch with their loved ones through regular letters, phone-calls and video chats. They are also spending 1:1 time with residents to lower the risk of social isolation.

    We are also grateful for the kindness and generosity of a number of individuals and organisations who have donated over 5,000 books, 500 games, over 60 tablets, DVD players, DVDs, and decks of playing cards. These have helped residents remain mentally stimulated, learn new things, enjoy interacting with each other, and communicate via technology with friends and family.

    We will continue to adapt to the changing situation by trying to source additional items for our residents where needed, and keeping our residents’ physical and mental health at the forefront of all we do.    

  • My relative lives in one of your Member Society houses or homes, does the same guidance apply to them?

    Our Member Societies are independent organisations, subject to the regulations in their country.  However, we are in regular contact with the staff and volunteers who manage these Societies and share with them the guidance we provide to our centrally managed services.

  • I’ve got a question about COVID-19; how do I get in touch?

    If you have any questions about your loved ones please do not hesitate to contact the house or home manager where they reside. Alternatively, if you have any queries regarding our management of COVID-19 you can email covid19@abbeyfield.com

Information about new admissions into our services

  • Are you currently accepting new residents?

    Following updated government guidance that people are now able to move to a new home, we are pleased to be able to welcome new residents into our properties across England. Some restrictions may apply elsewhere. You can view our properties by going to our website homepage and can then contact the relevant home manager to see if there is availability.

    In order to ensure the safety of our residents and staff and reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 we have had to adapt our process for new admissions in both housing and care services.  Please see below for more information.

    Government advice on home moving during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

  • Viewings

    Following the easing of restrictions viewings can take place on-site although virtual viewings (which may be a pre-recorded video tour or a video call) should continue to be offered where appropriate.

    Please contact the house or home manager to discuss the available options.

  • Assessments

    We will continue to complete a pre-admission assessment with all new residents.  Under normal circumstances, care homes would arrange to visit the person to assess their needs and preferences before admission. Assessment visits may take place where required with appropriate precautions in place.  Alternatively, the assessment may be completed using post, email or telephone/video calls with the person and other relevant individuals involved. 

  • Moving in to Supported Housing

    All residents will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 rapid test result on the day of admission.

    New residents will be expected to complete a 14 day period of self-isolation when they move in if they are symptomatic, have been exposed to someone with the virus, have had a positive test or have been discharged directly from hospital. 

    We will be flexible around moving in arrangements. An admission might need to be delayed, for example if the new resident becomes ill with COVID-19 during the moving process or has to self-isolate, or there is a suspected or confirmed case in the house.

  • Moving in to a care home

    Residents moving in to a care home from their own home do not need to complete a 14-day self-isolation period if they satisfy the below requirements:

    • they are fully vaccinated, plus 3 weeks, wherever possible
    • local guidance from the Director of Public Health about community transmission of variants of concern is followed
    • they have had no known contact with a COVID-positive person
    • there are no circumstances at the resident’s home, prior to admission, that would impact on COVID-19 transmission
    • they are willing to complete the required testing regime

     

    For all admissions from the community that do not satisfy the above requirements, the new resident will be supported to self-isolate in their rooms for 14 days.

    Newly-admitted residents who have been discharged from hospital, will be supported to complete a COVID-19 test upon arrival and self-isolate in their room for 14 days, in line with current government guidance.

    Any self-isolating resident will be enabled to receive visits from their Essential Caregiver at all times during the period of self-isolation, provided the Essential Caregiver and the resident are not symptomatic or COVID-19 positive.

  • Moving belongings

    Please refer to Government guidance on moving belongings here. New residents should ensure they have arrangements in place for cleaning, packing, transporting and unpacking their belongings, which minimise the risk of contact transmission of COVID-19 on surfaces. All clothing should be laundered before being brought into the property. Specialist cleaning systems, such as fogging, are being used widely by removal companies and could be utilised after belongings have been moved in. Our infection prevention and control measures for visitors will also apply to anyone assisting with the move.

    New residents to our care homes are advised to only bring essential items with them when they move in. Any items of furniture or soft furnishings will only be permitted where specialist cleaning, such as fogging can be utilised after moving in.

  • Short stay admissions

    We are accepting short stay respite admissions, as long as the resident satisfies the requirements for admissions from the community listed above. Please contact the house or home manager to discuss.

Safely welcoming new residents to Abbeyfield

Watch our short video to find out how we're safely welcoming new residents across the UK.

Your new home with Abbeyfield awaits.

COVID19 Information

Abbeyfield has complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 and is COVID-secure. Please click to find out more about our response to the pandemic.

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