All care home and hospital visits must stop

ALL visits to care homes, hospices and hospitals must stop where possible.

All visits to Princess Elizabeth Hospital, Mignot Memorial Hospital, Oberlands, the Lighthouse Wards and Care Homes in the Bailiwick of Guernsey must stop where possible. (27944597)
All visits to Princess Elizabeth Hospital, Mignot Memorial Hospital, Oberlands, the Lighthouse Wards and Care Homes in the Bailiwick of Guernsey must stop where possible. (27944597)

Regular visiting by family and friends was stopped a number of weeks ago to shield the frail and vulnerable in hospital and care homes.

Care managers and ward managers had discretion to allow only limited visits by loved ones where someone was in the very last stages of their life.

This decision was reviewed over the weekend and further consideration was given based on emerging evidence.

It has been agreed to alter arrangements for visits for the continued protection of residents and their family and friends, the staff and the wider public.

In care homes, no visits are allowed by family and friends for the foreseeable future to protect the staff and residents.

A spokesperson for Health & Social Care explained that the outbreaks seen in the homes so far have shown how vulnerable these settings are. The measures are considered essential in the circumstances but will be kept under constant review.

Hospices will have no routine visiting, but end of life visits will be individually assessed.

Where visits can be safely accommodated with appropriate safety measures, then staff may allow it under controlled circumstances.

Hospital visits will not be allowed on Covid-19 wards or with Covid-19 patients.

In other wards routine visiting cannot be allowed, but end of life visiting will be looked at on a compassionate case by case basis.

Such visits will only be allowed if they can be managed safely but, in general, even this visiting will be discouraged.

Family and friends should contact hospital wards and care homes for advice about ways to maintain contact with their loved ones, including the delivery of essential supplies and gifts.

Director of hospital and adult community care services Dermot Mullin understood that this decision means that family and friends are unable to see their loved ones at this time - some of whom will be extremely poorly or receiving end of life care.

'This is a decision that has not been taken lightly and one which has been considered by the Bailiwick Ethics Committee.

'It is important that patients and residents can maintain contact with their friends and family during this difficult time.'

The use of old and new technology was recommended to keep in contact.

'Exchanging letters or cards with your loved ones is still a great way to keep in touch.

'Both the hospital and care homes can support connection using mobile phones or tablets to enable video and audio calls.'

Arrangements are in place for relatives of residents in care homes where cases of Covid-19 have been reported to have the additional support of a social worker.

Community Services are also coordinating check-in telephone calls to people who are isolated at home and not receiving the usual level of contact with the outside world.

If a relative in a care home would like a check-in telephone call from the HSC team, contact the care home to make arrangements. Hospital staff will continue to provide updates to family members.

HSC is working with the Care Home Owners Association, Public Health and the medical director to make decisions for the welfare of the residents and the wider population.

Ensuring safe staffing levels is paramount across the care home sector while the island tries to minimise transmission.

More than 100 carers responded to a call from HSC asking for anyone with caring experience who would like to help out in some temporary paid employment to get in touch.

Anyone interested should email or call 725241.

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