Director of Public Health update care home visiting
Published: Wednesday, 23 December 2020
NHS Lanarkshire’s Director of Public Health has written to all care homes in Lanarkshire to advise them on changes to visiting.
The correspondence follows the recent announcement that from Boxing Day 2020, mainland Scotland will go into level four restrictions.
In terms of the current position pertaining to level 4, the highest protection level, guidance from the Scottish Government states that: “For areas in Level 4 only essential visits are recommended alongside window and garden visits, if Directors of Public Health judge this to be safe.”
Gabe Docherty, NHS Lanarkshire’s Director of Public Health said: “In light of this, I have confirmed in writing to all care homes that we will be adhering to this guidance across Lanarkshire. I have asked that window and garden visits continue, as long as the care home is Covid free.
“I have also emphasised to care homes colleagues that indoor visiting for end of life care or to support a resident’s wellbeing at times of distress can also continue, as long as all infection prevention and control measures are in place including appropriate use of PPE.
“This development does mean that, regretfully, limited indoor visiting we had set in place where appropriate will be paused as restrictions take effect from Boxing Day.”
Mr Docherty continued: “I recognise how profoundly challenging and difficult restrictions on visiting have been on residents and their families and I fully sympathise with that. My unmitigated focus continues to be on resident and staff safety.
“I would also add that we have set in place robust systems and processes to quickly and safely establish indoor visiting when there is evidence that it is safe to do so. The care home vaccination programme is also progressing well.
“Whilst this most recent change will be unwelcome news these developments do bode well for the future.”
Mr Docherty explained that he will keep this situation under review in tandem with Scottish Government colleagues and national guidance. He will issue further communication when able to do so.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all care home staff for their compassion, commitment and professionalism over the last year. I would also like to thank care home residents and their families for continued patience, understanding and forbearance as we weather this current phase of the pandemic,” added Mr Docherty.