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Coronavirus - Care & Support Update

Friday 23rd July: Restrictions Easing

Mark Drakeford recently made an announcement regarding the current Coronavirus restrictions in Wales and the plan to move into Alert Level 0 on 7th August.

For the most part, the new guidance will not have a huge impact on our services, but there are some changes that everyone will need to be made aware of.

The following is a summary of the situation now that new guidance has been issued…

Residential Care Homes:

Indoor visits with two designated visitors (at the same time, if desired), subject to LFD testing. If the visitors are not members of the same household, or extended household, they should socially distance.

Outdoor and/or pod visits allowed and will be encouraged.

Compassionate visits remain unchanged.

Visitors should wear face coverings on entry to the home. Visitors may remove face coverings once seated, if:

  • They are socially distanced from individuals
  • Visits are in a well-ventilated room and that room is either a designated visiting room only being used by one family at a time or the individual’s own room.

Visitors should wear PPE where there is likely to be more significant close contact with the resident, and particularly when there is an increased infection risk i.e. during an incident or outbreak.

Visitors and individuals may hold hands without wearing gloves. Visitors should wash hands before and after any contact with the resident or their environment and cover broken skin with a waterproof dressing or plaster before contact.

Pobl colleagues will encourage caution with close physical interactions (for example hugs, kisses). This presents less risk if it is between people who are fully vaccinated, without face-to-face contact, and there is brief contact only.

Services supporting people’s wellbeing such as entertainers can enter indoor areas, subject to LFD test before entry.

 

Supported Living & Extra Care Services:

Outdoor and/or pod visits allowed and will be encouraged.

Individuals are able to join together with up to two other households to form an exclusive extended household. Members of the extended household, or a maximum of six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of anyone present) can meet indoors and stay overnight in private homes and travel and holiday accommodation.

Individuals living in accommodation with shared facilities such as kitchen and bathroom are treated as a single household for self-isolation purposes.

Compassionate visits remain unchanged.

Communal areas can reopen, subject to updated risk assessments.

Tuesday 25th May: Updated Guidance for Care Homes

Yesterday (24th May, 2021) we received new Welsh Government guidance, relating to indoor visits at care homes.

The updated guidance states that there is no longer any need for individuals to choose just two designated visitors.

We will be implementing this relaxation of restrictions on a service-by-service basis, depending on the vulnerabilities of the individuals we support.

If your loved one lives at one of our Care Homes, please contact the service to arrange the safest possible way to visit them.

Thursday 19th May: Alert Level 2

On Monday 17th May, Wales entered Alert Level 2. We have now had time to work through the new Welsh Government guidance relating to this change. Having applied the updated guidance to our services and checked it against our detailed risk assessments, we would like to share our plans for facilitating visits at our services…

The way visits can be facilitated safely differs depending on the type of service and the vulnerabilities of the individuals who live there. With this in mind, we ask you to read through the information packs supplied in this bulletin and then speak with our colleagues to come up with the best solutions together, depending on your individual circumstances.

Care Homes:
If your loved one lives in a residential care home setting, please click here for our visitor pack.

Supported Living & Extra Care:
If your loved one lives in a Supported Living or Extra Care setting, please click here for our visitor pack.

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions that aren’t answered in these packs.

The health and wellbeing of your loved ones, our colleagues – and you – will always be our priority. Thank you again for your patience as we react and adapt to this ever-changing situation.

Friday 7th May: Updated Guidance

As always, we are following guidance from Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and Environmental Health in order to keep everyone as safe as possible. The current situation is as follows, across our services:

Supported Living & Extra Care Services:

  • With the re-introduction of extended households, indoor visits may be allowed, depending on Risk Assessments and the needs and wishes of the individuals living in the service. Please contact the service for more information.
  • Outdoor or pod visits allowed, as per guidance for the general community.

Care Homes:

  • Two designated visitors allowed, subject to rapid testing.
  • Only one visitor may visit indoors at a time.
  • Outdoor and/or pod visits where possible.

Please be aware that if anyone becomes symptomatic or tests positive, visits to that service will need to be cancelled with immediate effect to keep everyone safe. End of life/ compassionate visits remain unchanged.

Taking Care Home Residents Off-Site:

The current advice we have from Public Health Wales is that residents wishing to visit family off-site or in family homes poses the most risk to the residents of the care home. Therefore we would ask you to consider visiting your loved one at the care home in the first instance, where you will be offered a rapid Covid test and the risks can be better managed to keep everyone safe.

If you do need to take your loved one away from the care home for a visit, then please follow the current guidance on social distancing, hand hygiene and use of face masks when possible, especially when travelling in vehicles.

If you are travelling in a vehicle with your loved one, please ensure that the number of people in the car are kept to a minimum. It is best if everyone wears a face mask and the passenger sits in the back seat with the windows open.

If we have any positive cases of Covid-19 in the care home, the current Public Health Wales guidance is that visits away from the service do not take place.

Hairdressers:
Many of you will be glad to hear that we have received new guidance that will enable us to allow hairdressers to visit indoors at our services once more. We will be looking to facilitate this safely, as soon as possible.

Communal Areas:
We are also anticipating that in line with changes to restrictions for the general public, we may be able to re-open communal areas and lounges at some of our services from 17th May. We are readying ourselves for this, revisiting risk assessments to ensure that we are able to do this as soon as guidance allows.

Restrictions easing: What it means for our care services

Updated Wednesday 31st March 2021.

Following the Welsh Government announcement on 13th March, all of our Care services took some time to understand the new guidance and re-visit risk assessments. It was important to do this on a service-by-service basis, taking into account the layout of each location, the facilities and resources available there and the vulnerabilities of each individual.

It was also hugely important that we made sure the individuals we support understood the change in restrictions before they  decided whether they wanted to have visitors at their homes.

For more information on the logistics involved in re-opening our services to visitors safely, please click here.

We have communicated with the loved ones of the individuals we support at each service to explain the new guidance that applies to them.

As an overview, the following new Welsh Government guidance applies in each setting, but this is subject to change, depending on the vulnerabilities of the individual and their choices.

Residential Care Homes:

  • One designated visitor allowed for indoor visits, by appointment, subject to LFD testing.
  • Pod visits allowed where possible, by appointment, subject to LFD testing.
  • Outdoor visits allowed where possible, by appointment.

Supported Living:

  • Individuals who live in our Supported Living services are to follow the guidance given to the general population.

Extra Care:

  • Individuals who live alone at our Extra Care services are able to form a Support Bubble with one other household and have visits indoors with them, as per Welsh Government guidance. We encourage loved ones to speak with us to arrange this, so we can ensure there is limited footfall in corridors.
  • Outdoor/ pod visits where possible, by appointment.
  • All communal areas remain closed.

If there is a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 at any of our services, that service will need to close to visitors with immediate effect. End of life/ compassionate visits remain unchanged.

Friday 12th March: Restrictions easing, please be patient

Today, Welsh Government announced their plans to begin unlocking the restrictions in place across Wales.

We have started the process of examining the new guidance and we will apply this individually to each of our services.

We appreciate that you are keen to visit your loved ones again, but please understand that applying new guidance takes time to plan and implement.

Once we have applied the new guidance to each of our services, taking into account the detailed Risk Assessments, as well as the varying vulnerabilities of those we support, we will start to facilitate visits once more.

Please do not contact our services to arrange visits yet. We will be in touch with you as soon as we can to welcome you back.

Throughout the pandemic, we have closely followed Government and Public Health Wales guidance to ensure everyone who lives and works at our services is as safe as possible. We intend to continue with this cautious, careful approach.

The safety of the individuals we support, you and our colleagues will always be our priority.

We are aware of the fact that this Sunday is a special day for many and that you will want to see your loved one. However, as we have only received the new guidance today, we will not be able to implement changes in time to reopen for Mothering Sunday.

We understand that this will be upsetting and frustrating, but we would prefer you to be able to enjoy a belated day together safely, rather than rushing to allow access and in doing so, putting everyone at risk.

We are looking forward to welcoming you to our services once more – and we are working tirelessly to ensure that we can do this in the safest possible way.

Alert Level 4 - What it means for our Care services

Updated Monday 21st December, 2020

Wales has entered Alert Level 4, which means that unfortunately, we have to restrict access to our services once again – with immediate effect.

We understand how this will be extremely difficult for you, your loved ones and our teams.

Please understand that this change in this position is a direct result of Welsh Government guidance. Based on the latest scientific findings, they have tightened restrictions in order to protect the most vulnerable in society.

KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE

Any previously scheduled visits and appointments are now cancelled.

If your loved one lives in a Residential Care Home, you will not be allowed access.

If your loved one lives in an Extra Care or Supported Living setting, please contact the individual services.

With the new guidance comes new restrictions and arrangements…

We are committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of your loved ones, our colleagues – and you. In restricting access to our services, we are doing everything we can to safeguard against what is a very real threat.

The Government has advised us there is evidence to suggest that the new strain of Coronavirus is more infectious than the original. We are now in unknown territory and so in suspending and restricting visits in-line with Government restrictions, we are aiding infection control processes to keep your loved ones and our colleagues as safe as possible.

Friday 13th November: Visiting Restrictions Update

The Firebreak Lockdown has come to an end here in Wales, which means that new guidance has been issued by Welsh Government on how we can all keep safe.

We have spent the past week going through the guidance for care & support services, which differs depending on where the individual lives.

We have now reached the point where we can make an informed decision on what can be done to facilitate visiting at each of our services in the safest possible way.

DIFFERENT APPROACHES DEPENDING ON THE LOCATION & SITUATION

Residential Care Homes: Outdoor visits only, by appointment.

All other services: Please contact the service in order to agree a safe approach.

We support a large number of individuals, all of whom have differing needs and vulnerabilities, so a blanket approach to visiting is not appropriate.That’s why, in-line with Welsh Government guidelines, our approach will differ on a service-by service basis.

We are committed to enabling visits from loved ones and we are working on solutions to allow this to take place through the winter months. In the meantime, please get in touch with the service to discuss the situation, the guidance and where appropriate, make arrangements for safe visits to take place.

Thursday 22nd October: Firebreak Lockdown Update

As you will have heard, the whole of Wales is about to go into a “firebreak” lockdown. This means that a series of restrictions will be in place from 6pm Friday 23rd October until the start of Monday 9th November 2020.

As with previous lockdowns, in order to keep everyone safe, it is important that we suspend all visits from family, friends and loved ones to our services.

NO VISITING ALLOWED AT ANY OF OUR SERVICES
This rule will come into force in-line with the Welsh Government Firebreak Lockdown restrictions.

We understand that everyone is growing tired of these restrictions, but it is so important that we all work together to keep one another safe.

As always, we are following the guidance set out by Welsh Government, Public Health Wales and our own risk assessments. We value your support on this matter.

Friday 9th October: Visiting Restrictions Update

When the local lockdowns came into force, we took the decision to suspend visits to services in the affected areas.

We have now had time to review and adjust our risk assessments, so from Monday 12th October, where possible, we will start to allow outdoor visits at services in Local Lockdown areas.

Older People’s Services: Outdoor visiting only, regardless of area.

Local Lockdown Areas: Outdoor visiting only (depending on Risk Assessments).

Non Local Lockdown Areas: Outdoor visits preferred. Indoor visits where necessary.

 

Please check before you travel!

Each of our services has completed individual risk assessments, so please speak with our colleagues before making any visits.

Please note that if an individual becomes symptomatic at any of our services, we will need to suspend visiting at that service immediately, until a negative test is received. If an individual or colleague tests positive at a service, visiting will be suspended for 28 days from the date of the test. We value your understanding on this matter and hope you will support our colleagues with this.

It’s also important to note that travelling in and out of lockdown areas is not allowed, according to Welsh Government restrictions, so please take note of this before making arrangements to visit our services.

We all need to work together to keep everyone safe.

Friday 25th September - 3 More Areas in Local Lockdown

It was announced by Welsh Government today that three more areas (Llanelli, Swansea & Cardiff) will be going into local lockdown over the weekend. Therefore, our current status is as follows:

OLDER PEOPLE’S SERVICES (Including Care Homes & Extra Care):

  • No visiting* allowed from and including Saturday 26th September 2020.

LOCAL LOCKDOWN AREAS – NO VISITING ALLOWED:

  • Llanelli
  • Swansea
  • Cardiff
  • Newport
  • Bridgend
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Caerphilly
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff

ALL OTHER BOROUGHS:

Outdoor visits only, from and including Monday 28th September 2020.

*With the exception of end of life/ essential visits.

Please be aware that as further boroughs go into lockdown, so too will our services. As always, we make these difficult decisions to keep everyone safe.

Please click here to see an official Welsh Government statement regarding visiting restrictions in care settings.

Thursday 24th September - Local Lockdown: Further Restrictions

We’ve been closely monitoring the news with regards to the number of cases of Covid-19 in our communities.

In light of the recent rise in the number of cases of Covid-19 in our communities, local intelligence and local authority and Welsh Government guidance, we have taken the decision to tighten the restrictions in place at our services…

OLDER PEOPLE’S SERVICES (Including Care Homes & Extra Care):

  • No visiting* allowed from and including Saturday 26th September 2020.

LOCAL LOCKDOWN AREAS – NO VISITING ALLOWED:

  • Newport
  • Bridgend
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Caerphilly
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff

ALL OTHER BOROUGHS:

Outdoor visits only, from and including Monday 28th September 2020.

*With the exception of end of life/ essential visits.

Please be aware that as further boroughs go into lockdown, so too will our services. As always, we make these difficult decisions to keep everyone safe.

Wednesday 23rd September - Local Lockdown & Visiting Arrangements

Over the past few days, local lockdowns have been introduced across a number of boroughs in South Wales.

Having reflected on the guidance on these local lockdowns and the national measures announced, we’ve taken the decision to SUSPEND ALL VISITS in all local lockdown areas with immediate effect*. This includes indoor and outdoor visits.

In the areas where there is no local lockdown currently, we have decided to move to external visiting only*, from and including Monday 28th September, in order to keep everyone safe.

So, to summarise:

LOCAL LOCKDOWN AREAS – NO VISITING ALLOWED, WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT:

  • Newport
  • Bridgend
  • Blaenau Gwent
  • Caerphilly
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff

ALL OTHER BOROUGHS:

Outdoor visits only, from and including Monday 28th September 2020.

*With the exception of end of life/ essential visits.

Tuesday 8th September Update - 'Local Lockdown' in Caerphilly County Borough

From 6pm today (Friday 8th September), the Caerphilly County Borough area will go into a local lockdown, to combat the spread of Covid-19.

We will continue to provide care and support services in the Caerphilly County Borough area. The only change will be in line with guidance around visits;

Supported Living services – Outdoor visits only.

Extra Care services – Essential or end of life visits only.

All visits must be controlled via the service manager prior to visitors entering.

We will continue to closely monitor all of our services in the area and act in accordance with the latest Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidelines to ensure the safety of your loved ones and our employees.

Friday 4th September Update

Indoor Visits

Preparations for indoor visits have been continuing at pace, with risk assessments completed, additional equipment ordered where needed, and signage packs for services created.

We are now delighted to be able to confirm that indoor visits are able to resume on Monday 7th September.

We are so glad to be able to welcome families back into our services, and will be keeping our approach as simple as we can to make this process safe and straightforward for those we support and their loved ones.

While there will be some changes to how we operate compared to the last time you were able to visit indoors, the basic principles for all services are:

  • There will be a designated visiting area in each service which will be cleaned between each use
  • Visitors need to book their visit in advance with the service
  • A maximum of 2 visitors per person at each visit will be allowed, but different people can visit the individual on each occasion
  • Doorstep screening will take place for each visitor on each occasion, including temperature checks. Visitors will be politely declined entry if there is any indication they may have Covid-19 symptoms
  • Hand hygiene remains critical and people will be asked to use antibacterial hand gel on arrival and when moving through the building.
  • Face coverings must be worn by visitors in the building
  • We will collect the details of all visitors to aid track & Trace
  • We will pause visiting again if there is a suspected case amongst colleagues or individuals at a service, or a local outbreak necessitating action in some services

In some services, additional measures such as one-way systems and perspex screens will be in place.

Visiting may vary subject to local guidance and any community restrictions that may be put in place by Welsh Government.

We know that these changes may cause anxiety for some. However, we want to assure you that we have worked closely with our health and safety business partners and followed Welsh Government and Public Health Wales guidance in developing our plans, and are content that if this is followed, the risk of infection should be minimised. We will keep the situation both in our services and the wider communities under review and communicate any changes as needed.

Friday 19th June Update

We understand that the past few months have been difficult. But we’re pleased to say that now official restrictions on movements have started to become more relaxed, we are looking towards allowing you to visit again.

Our Commitment Still Stands…

Whilst we are going to start allowing visitors to our services, we are certainly not going to become complacent.

Coronavirus still exists and continues to pose a risk, so we will move forward cautiously, ready to take a step back if required.

Please read on to find out how we are planning to allow visits in a safe and controlled manner…

Care Homes & Extra Care Services:

From 22nd June, we will be preparing to allow restricted access to our services.

Please wait to hear from us – we will be in contact to make arrangements.

The access is strictly limited to our outdoor space and all visitors must abide by the rules set out by each individual service…

Please download the documents below for further information and advice:

Supported Living Services:

We were so pleased to start allowing access to our Supported Living Services again and we can tell how much it has benefitted the people we support.

Whilst we have started to allow visitors to our services, we are certainly not going to become complacent.

Please read on to remind yourselves of how we are working to reduce the risk of spreading the virus:

  • Friday 5th June Update

    As you all know, on 24th March, we took the difficult decision to close all of our care and support services to visitors. From the very beginning, we have been following advice and guidance issued to us by Welsh Government and Public Health Wales to keep your loved ones safe.

    Recently, some lockdown measures were relaxed slightly in Wales, but as you can see from the statement below, the official guidance for residential care homes remains unchanged.

    Visits to a care home should now only take place when absolutely essential and not as part of routine visiting previously experienced at the home. Non-essential providers such as Hairdressers and entertainers should cease attending the care home along with non-essential contractors or service providers.

    “We recognise the importance of relationships with family and friends in emotional wellbeing and cannot reinforce strongly enough the crucial role visitors can now take in the physical protection of their family and friends by not visiting, while continuing to support emotional wellbeing in alternative ways.”

    Albert Heaney, Deputy Director General Health & Social Services, Welsh Government.

    Since the most recent announcement, we have also sought advice from Public Health Wales and they have confirmed this position.

    To protect your loved ones, we remain closed…

    In order to ensure the safety of your loved ones, their fellow residents and our teams working within our schemes, we cannot allow external visitors to our services until the guidance changes. We understand that this is difficult, but we ask you to please support us, as you have done so far.

    The health and wellbeing of your loved ones will always be our priority and whilst lockdown is challenging for everyone, it remains the right thing to do for everyone’s safety. If you’d like to find out more about the Welsh Government guidance issued to residential care homes, please click here.

    We’re working hard to keep everyone safe, and you have a key role in reducing the risk further…

    • Please respect the visiting restrictions we have put in place.
    • Try not to call us unless it is an emergency.
    • Please trust us to deliver the best level of care to your loved one.

     

    SUPPORTED LIVING SERVICES:

    We’re risk assessing Supported Living Services. The guidance issued by Welsh Government about the continuation of lockdown in our residential care homes does not apply to our supported living services.

    However, we want to be sure that any access granted to these services is safe. Therefore, we are carrying out risk-assessments at each one to ensure that if visits are allowed, they can be undertaken in a way which will keep your loved ones – and you – safe.

    The managers of each service will contact you directly to let you know the progress on this.

    Any Questions?

    If you have any questions that haven’t been answered here, please forward them to our team who will respond as soon as possible:

    carequestions@poblgroup.co.uk

    Thank you for your continued understanding and support, which is helping us to keep your loved ones safe.

  • Monday 20th April Update

    Families of people we support should read our ‘Working Together to Tackle Coronavirus’ pack which explains the changes we’ve made to how we work, our approach to safety and how you can help.

    Working Together to Tackle Coronavirus

     

    Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

    We are committed to keeping everyone safe and avoiding the risk of spreading the virus. We are following Public Health Wales and Care Inspectorate Wales Guidelines on the use of PPE in services.

    At our services, personal protective equipment would include gloves, aprons and masks.

    Click here to read the latest official guidance regarding PPE.

  • Monday 24th March Update

    Following the latest Government guidanceputting in place unprecedented restrictions on people’s movements, we have made the difficult decision to close all our care and support services to visitors. 

    From 9am on Tuesday 24th  March, only those who live or work in our services will be permitted access.  Essential visiting healthcare professionals will also be allowed access, escorted by one of our colleagues. 

    We understand that this is a distressing time for many people and encourage families to remain in contact with loved ones by telephone, WhatsApp, FaceTime, letter or any other method of communication that you are able.   

    Our staff will be supporting people to maintain their friendships and family relationships through non-contact methods as far as possible.  

    Due to the expected impact of the Coronavirus on our staffing levels, and to promote social distancing, we will be limiting activities within services to essential care and support.   

    If you would prefer for  your loved one  to come and stay with you throughout this period, we will facilitate this arrangement and support the decision fully,  as long as the person we support agrees with this arrangement.  

    Please be assured that we are following the advice of Public Health  Wales and are working in conjunction with Care Inspectorate Wales, Commisioners and all appropriate authorities. 

    This is a difficult decision which we recognise will impact on residents and their loved  ones, but the reason for this is to protect all those living in our schemes as best as we can.  This is not an easy message for us to share, and  we  appreciate that this may cause some discomfort, but believe that this is a necessary step to take.  

    This restriction will remain in place until further notice.