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.
Updated 07 July 21
We are aware that the government has released a statement about the easing of restrictions in England from 19th July. We are currently awaiting further guidance of how this will affect our visiting arrangements and will update this page as more information is available.
Visits to our care homes
Care home residents can choose up to five Named Visitors who will be able to undertake regular indoor visiting, supported by rapid testing. In line with government guidance, residents can have up to two visitors (either indoors or outdoors) separately or at the same time, and a maximum of two on the same 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.Babies and pre-school age children do not count as one of the two 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. 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
As part of the roadmap out of lockdown, the government updated its guidance on visits out of care homes with effect from 21 June. 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 their care home for visits out without the need to self-isolate on their return, subject to a risk assessment of the outing. Residents will still need to self-isolate for 14 days on return from visits assessed to be high-risk and overnight stays in hospital.
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 17th May - In line with the government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions, our supported housing settings are able to support additional visiting for residents wherever it is safe and practical to do so.
Residents are now able to have two visitors at a time for indoor visits. 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.
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.
Although outdoor gatherings have been limited to 30 people by the government, 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 ensure all visits, whether indoors or in the garden, are pre-booked 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.
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 now able to receive 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.
If you are unsure about anything please speak to the home manager.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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, from an interim care facility or transferring from another care home, 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.
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.
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.
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.