Care homes limit visits to keep residents safe

STRICT Covid-19 measures are being re-introduced at care homes in a bid to keep vulnerable residents both happy and healthy.

La Grande Lande Residential Home senior carer Sharon Patterson with resident Audrey Hardwick.  (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30257940)
La Grande Lande Residential Home senior carer Sharon Patterson with resident Audrey Hardwick. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30257940)

As of yesterday there were 850 active cases in the Bailiwick and added concerns of the new Omicron variant has led care staff to make the changes.

From last week, La Grande Lande Residential Home in St Saviour’s said it had limited visits only to next-of-kin, but there was no specific cap on visitors allowed to those who have several close relatives.

Visitors to the home are required to present a negative lateral flow test when they arrive and are also required to undergo a temperature check upon arrival and wear a face covering for the duration of their visit.

Senior carer Sharon Patterson said: ‘The new variant is a big concern, we do not want it in the island. At the moment they’re having visitors and they’re happy.’

While no cases were identified in the home during the first lockdown, positive cases found in the home during the second lockdown among staff and residents meant that all residents had to relocate to the hospital for two weeks because there were no staff available to care for them in the home.

‘It was an awful experience and you’re wary once you’ve been hit once. We don’t want to go back to that, it was an awful time,’ said Mrs Patterson.

There are currently no restrictions on residents leaving the home, but residents are required to undergo the same testing measures as visitors when they arrive back after leaving.

Mrs Patterson said that there are no plans for this to change before Christmas Day.

‘They’ve got to have some life,’ she said.

Other care homes have implemented similar measures including Maison L’Aumone and Maison de Quetteville, which has introduced similar testing and temperature check measures and are not allowing visitors in who have travelled outside of the CTA in the last seven days.

During earlier waves, care homes have closed themselves off from visitors to protect their residents.

Age Concern, a charity which supports social events for older people, is due to hold a Christmas lunch for 195 of its members next week. The charity’s chairman David Inglis said it was monitoring the situation and warning members what could change within the coming days.

‘We haven’t made any major changes – it’s situation normal so far. Our members are very conscious of the situation and know not to come if they’re unwell.’

He added that although it was not mandatory, many members were doing lateral flow tests before attending group meet-ups.

The States advises that anyone feeling unwell should not visit any care facilities.

It is also advised that individual care and residential homes are operating varying safety measures at their own discretion and so anyone looking to visit relatives should check what measures are in place before doing so.

Guernsey has a high rate of vaccination, particularly among older islanders. Overall, 93% of all adults have had two jabs, with about half of over-50s having received a booster.

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