How Opal Care is responding to Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Continuing to Care

At Opal Care, the health, wellbeing and safety of our residents is at the heart of everything we do. Although we have made many changes to the way we work, our teams continue to ensure that life is enjoyable and fulfilling for those in our care. With well-established infection control procedures and a dedicated clinical governance and quality team to oversee these, we have been able to react quickly and safely manage the pandemic across our care homes.

You can read how we have been using data-driven technology to ensure our care homes remain COVID-19 Safe by clicking here.

Visiting Update May 2021

We are delighted to have reunited our residents with their designated visitors inside our home over the past few weeks.

However, we must make sure that we reintroduce visiting in the safest possible way. When new government guidance is issued, we carry out dynamic risk assessments and review our visiting policy accordingly. Each resident has their own individualised visiting plan and we continue to encourage close family members to be involved in the development of this.

Current guidance allows each care home resident to choose up to five designated visitors to visit them regularly indoors. However, this is limited to a maximum of two visitors at any one time, or two visitors separately in the course of one day.

We understand how difficult the decision to name designated visitors may be and we have been supporting our residents in any way we can. Where a resident is unable to make this decision for themselves, we have been working with family members and friends to make a best interest decision on their behalf.

Our home manager has contacted key family members with details of the new visiting arrangements, advising the booking process, the types of visit available and infection control procedures visitors will need to follow. This includes information on the lateral flow tests that nominated visitors will be required to take.

Additional visiting options may include garden, garden pod (with a substantial screen) and window visits.

For the most up-to-date visiting arrangements, please contact the home manager.

*The term ‘designated visitor’ means that it must be the same people or person visiting.

Booking Your Visit

All visits must be booked by the nominated visitor in advance through the booking system at the home. Please call the home on 01376 550764 to book your visit.

The team at the home will book your visit for a specified time slot with a maximum duration of 60 minutes.

Please do not turn up at the home expecting to visit if you have not booked in advance.

When You Arrive for Your Visit

Please proceed to the designated entrance as indicated at the time of booking where a member of our team will greet you.

We will then:

  • Check that you are currently well and specifically have no cough, fever or loss of taste and smell
  • Ask if you have had recent contact with anyone with coronavirus symptoms or anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • Take your temperature with a contactless thermometer
  • Ask you to complete and sign the risk questionnaire provided
  • We may record your details for NHS Test and Trace if we didn’t get them during the booking process

Your Lateral Flow Test

The team member who greeted you will escort you to our lateral flow testing area and provide you with instructions. You will need to wait for 30 minutes for the test result, but we will do our best to make sure you are comfortable during this time.

On receipt of a negative result, we will:

  • Ask you to wash and sanitize your hands
  • Provide you with PPE that must be worn for the duration of your visit (our team member will provide you with instructions to ensure it is worn properly)
  • Remind you that you can hold hands with your loved one, but that no further contact will be allowed at this time
  • Escort your loved one into the visiting room, or take you to their room as appropriate

Should your test result be positive, you will be asked to return home immediately and to follow government rules for self-isolation and COVID-19 testing.

How to Get the Most From Your Visit

Although visiting your loved one inside their care home will come as a great relief, it will almost certainly feel very different for all involved.

Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • With face masks required on all visits, remember to speak loudly and clearly
  • Consider writing information down for your relative to read, if they can
  • Maintaining eye contact will help allay the distraction of a face mask
  • Try to wear familiar clothing and style your hair in a way your loved one will recognise
  • You are welcome to bring gifts that can be wiped down before handing them to your loved one

Although we will do our best to prepare your loved one for their visit, by looking at photos and discussing family memories, those with dementia may struggle to recognise you at first. Talking about childhood memories and reminiscing about significant life events during your visit may help with this.

Preparing for Change

As you know, the situation can change rapidly. In the event of an outbreak in the care home or if instructed by the local Public Health Director, visiting will be stopped immediately (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life).

The home manager will be in contact with you to confirm any changes to our visiting policy should they occur.

Helping You Stay in Touch

Restricted visiting does not mean you have to lose touch. We have contingencies in place to ensure that you can still speak to, and in many cases still see relatives in our care during the pandemic.

Through the use of phone and video calls and the care home’s Facebook page, we will ensure that you remain in contact with your loved one, and they remain in contact with the wider community.

We are also regularly writing to our residents’ relatives to keep them informed of any changes or updates to our plans.

Covid-19 Vaccine

Currently, we are working with the NHS and local public health teams to get the Covid-19 vaccination to our residents and staff as quickly as possible. We have had a fantastic take up of vaccinations for both residents and staff to date and the number continues to rise.

We have recently implemented a new recruitment policy to ensure all new joiners are vaccinated before they start work. This will assist us in fulfilling our responsibility to minimise risk to the lowest practicable level.

We Are Open to Admissions

We will continue to accept new residents into many of our homes to support those in the community who require care.

To safeguard the health and wellbeing of our residents and care teams, we will carry out preadmission assessments remotely by telephone, video call, or email. This is to ensure that any new admissions are safe, appropriate, and do not put our residents and staff at risk.

If you would like to make an enquiry please click here.

What We Will Do Next

All residents in our homes are highly vulnerable, as are many of their loved ones. We need to ensure that the actions we take do not significantly increase the rate of infections.

We are acting on the advice and guidelines provided by the government and Public Health England. As the situation changes, we will constantly review and adapt our approach. We will update this page in line with the most current government information and advice.

We thank you for your co-operation and for considering the health and wellbeing of our residents at this time.

Further Questions

If you have any further questions about our response to COVID-19 or the situation at our care home, simply call the care home manager or person in charge.

We thank you for your co-operation and for considering the health and wellbeing of our residents at this time.

Useful Links

If you would like to know more about Covid-19, please follow the links below.

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