Relatives wearing correct PPE will soon be able to hold hands in Calderdale care home
Relatives will soon be able to hold hands – wearing the relevant personal protective equipment (PPE) – with loved ones living in a care home, although they will not be able to hug and kiss yet.
Under the Government’s road map through the COVID-19 pandemic, residents will be able to receive one visitor from March 8, Calderdale Council’s Director of Adults, Health and Social Care Services, Iain Baines, told the borough’s Health and Wellbeing Board.
Mr Baines said: “We have been working with care home providers to get ready to allow a single consistent visitor with PPE.”
The visitor would be allowed to have a face to face visit without a screen.
“It wouldn’t necessarily enable people to hug and kiss and contact will be discouraged, but they will be able to hold hands with the appropriate PPE in place,” said Mr Baines.
Residents, relatives and care homes were keen to work towards this and care home staff were supportive, he added.
Mr Baines said the only challenge which would have to be faced would be if there was an outbreak of COVID-19 at a care home, with visiting not allowed during the period of time the home was affected.
Currently six care homes in Calderdale were dealing with cases, he said.
Mr Baines said actions were consistent with national guidance and looking ahead the council would also be liaising with all stakeholders as June – the month when the Government hopes all restrictions can be removed – approaches.
Since late last year the council has worked with care homes to allow visits but no contact was allowed and screening was used.
Generally support to care homes has included infection prevention, control support and intervention help, support with and supply of PPE, regular testing of residents and staff and monitoring the results, monitoring staff levels and supplying staff where needed, distributing infection control funding and monitoring of COVID-19 testing conducted within care homes and flu vaccinations for both residents and staff.
Intensive support is offered to those care homes currently experiencing an outbreak or closed to new admissions.
Discussing COVID-19 updates, board members stressed the need to keep observing social distances, mask wearing and other guidance measures even as the vaccination programme rolls out further.