We’ve witnessed many memorable and moving moments when Residents and their loved ones have been reunited through the introduction of safe garden and window visits.

We’ve been incredibly mindful of the emotional suffering that many Residents and Relatives will have experienced during the pandemic and sought ways that we could help them to maintain contact including virtual visits through the use of technology, telephone calls, letters and emails.

Sadly, the stark reality of the coronavirus is that statistically it is likely to have the most devastating effect on elderly members of society so it has been necessary for us to protect our Residents in every way possible and one of the ways has been to limit their exposure to people who might unknowingly be carrying the virus. 

Why did HC-One restrict Residents receiving visits from their loved ones?
The Office for National Statistics reported that by 29 May more than 46,000 people had died from coronavirus in England and Wales, and that more than 4 in 5 of those people were aged 70 or over. 

When we look at the number of deaths from coronavirus for each thousand people there is an even more stark relationship. In age groups up to and including 60-69, fewer than 1 in 1,000 people have died from coronavirus, however: 

•          Age 70-79, it’s 2 in every 1,000 people
•          Age 80-89, it’s 7 in every 1,000 people
•          Age 90 and over, it’s 18 people in every 1,000 people 

Visiting
We are delighted to now be able to welcome Relatives and friends back to our homes to be reunited with Residents, where it is safe to do so. This is happening gradually and with robust safety and infection control measures in place. We are continually reviewing our visiting policies and making changes where possible and safe, so that we can help to reunite more families, whilst still prioritising the safety of our Residents, Colleagues and visitors alike. 

We are currently able to offer the following types of visits to those homes who have not had an outbreak for 28 days, or the home is not in an area where local restrictions have been put in place following an increase of cases in the local community and where we have agreement from the local public health teams.

England

  • Outdoor and window visits for each Resident, once a week from up to three visitors at a time, from a maximum of two households. (This is the preferred visiting option due to a lower risk of the virus spreading in outdoor areas.)

  • Safe visits indoors from one designated visitor for each Resident, once a week (prioritising visits to those Residents with the greatest health needs for whom it is more difficult to see their loved ones outside).

Scotland

  • Outdoor and window visits for each Resident, once a week from up to three visitors at a time, from a maximum of two households. (This is the preferred visiting option due to a lower risk of the virus spreading in outdoor areas.)

  • Safe visits indoors from one designated visitor for each Resident, once a week (prioritising visits to those Residents with the greatest health needs for whom it is more difficult to see their loved ones outside).

Wales

• Outdoor or window visits for each Resident, once a week for up to two visitors at a time, from a maximum of two households. (This is the preferred visiting option due to a lower risk of the virus spreading in outdoor areas).

• Safe visits indoors once a week for one designated visitor, or a nominated deputy if the designated visitor is unavailable due to illness or absence. (Prioritising visits to those Residents with the greatest health needs for whom it is more difficult to see their loved ones outside).

Further information about these visits is available in the Relatives’ guides that can be downloaded from the bottom of this webpage.

This guidance is subject to change based on future government guidance, the situation at individual homes, decisions taken by the local Director of Public Health, and local lockdowns. We will continue to keep our policies under review and provide updates accordingly.

Compassionate visits
Sadly, some Residents move into our care homes to receive professional care at the end of their lives due to critical health conditions; in these extreme cases we’re able to arrange compassionate “in-room” visits for close family members. Compassionate visits are really important for our Residents and their families so we do everything that we can to help you get the most out of these visits in the safest way possible.

Local lockdown
We remain incredibly alert to hotspots emerging across the country, the infection rates in our local communities and any action taken by central government or local authorities in the affected areas.

We always prioritise the health and wellbeing of Residents, and the Colleagues who care for them, and we are ready to act quickly to respond to the hotspots and/or any new restrictions imposed by the government or local authorities. This may mean placing homes in temporary lockdown as a precautionary measure to safeguard everyone at the home. This will mean that these homes would be temporarily closed to non-essential visitors, and window and outdoor visiting would be postponed.

Virtual visits via video
We’re mindful that some of our Relatives might be shielding themselves or find it difficult to visit their loved one in person for a number of possible reasons; in these cases we can arrange for a virtual visit by Zoom, or telephone calls if video calls are not suitable.

We've developed the following guidance for all Relatives to help them in visiting safely and responsibly and will update this as soon as we can take the next steps:

Visiting Guide for Relatives - England
Visiting Guide for Relatives - Scotland
Indoor Visiting Guide for Relatives - Scotland
Visiting Guide for Relatives - Wales