A temporary ban on non-essential visits has been introduced by the UK’s largest not for profit care home provider, Anchor Hanover.
The move is part of a raft of measures introduced by the nation’s leading care home providers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
An Anchor spokesperson told CHP: “Given the rising number of cases of coronavirus in the country, we have put in place measures to safeguard the wellbeing of all our residents.
“As part of this, we have made the decision to temporarily stop non-essential visits to our care homes with immediate effect. This is purely a precaution.”
Anchor said relatives and friends visits to its homes would continue, however, as well as essential visits by medical and maintenance personnel.
The news came as an adviser told the BBC, the government was considering a policy of ‘cocooning’ care home residents and other vulnerable groups from the wider community until herd immunity had been established.
Dr Halpern, chief executive of the government-owned Behavioural Insights Team, and a member of Whitehall’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), also suggested the creation of an army of volunteers to help support care home staff.
CHP has contacted a number of leading care home providers to find out the steps they have taken to prevent coronavirus infection.
The UK’s largest, HC-One, said it had created a steering group led by its Clinical Director to manage the issue and was working with its homes and suppliers to ensure its supply chain of essential items remained robust.
Sunrise and Gracewell said it was postponing or cancelling group activities involving more than 10 external people in anticipation of the government moving to the ‘delay’ phase of its national response.
The group is also investing in iPads so that family and friends can reduce visits and stay in touch remotely. The provider is also asking anyone feeling ill or having visited the Category 1 or 2 countries specified by the government to not visit until they have spent sufficient time in quarantine.
Guidance on the countries listed under Categories 1 & 2 can be found by clicking here.
Nadra Ahmed OBE, Executive Chairman, of the National Care Association told CHP that the coronavirus posed “uncharted challenges” for care homes, adding providers were doing all they could to mitigate risk to residents.
“Some providers have consulted with residents, staff, family and friends and taken the decision to restrict or close visiting to the service,” Nadra added.
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England, commented: “Care homes are taking all possible precautions to keep people safe. Most providers have good plans in place to ensure that services can continue to support residents in the event of a coronavirus outbreak. It is vital that the government recognise that care services are vital and give us the same access to drugs, sanitising products and equipment as the NHS.”