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Care home visits to be limited to protect most vulnerable from growing COVID cases

Sefton Council, along with authorities across Merseyside, is asking care homes to limit interactions with people from outside who may be carrying coronavirus owing to the significant increases in COVID-19 confirmed cases across the region.

Protecting the Borough’s most vulnerable residents has been a priority for Sefton Council since the start of the pandemic, which is why it has written to care home managers and owners instructing them to limit visits.

The following visits can continue but will be review on a weekly basis.

  • Essential visits by health professionals
  • Visits from families and relatives to those residents who are receiving end of life care may continue subject to robust risk assessments.
  • Garden visits subject to risk assessments.
  • All other non-essential visits and visits by family members into care homes are suspended until further notice.

To maintain contact with family members the Council is encouraging people to keep in touch with their loved one through digital channels such as Zoom or WhatsApp and we will support care home staff to facilitate safe contact in this way.

Sefton Council’s letter also explains to care sector providers that it is working with council colleagues across City Region to ensure a coordinated response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. This work includes requirements around a consistent approach to the Government’s recently-introduced ‘rule of 6’.

This includes considering the benefits and risks of people returning to day services, their transport arrangements and the number of days they may be able to access services.

In the letter, Sefton Council expresses its ongoing appreciation that care providers are all doing their best to support people and keep them safe. It also highlights the need to be aware of the risks posed by groups of people coming together while also taking the needs of service uses and their families into account.

Commenting on the move, Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “We know this will be a disappointment for care home residents and their families across the City Region and we acknowledge the hard work our Sefton Care homes have undertaken to manage the risks of an outbreak but it’s vital we take this action to prevent COVID-19 getting into care homes and spreading among residents.

“Younger people are less likely to be affected seriously by COVID-19 and are often asymptomatic and our concern is that when they visit they will unwittingly pass the virus on to their vulnerable relatives for whom coronavirus could be very serious or even fatal.”

“With numbers of coronavirus cases rising across the region, it is important that we weigh up the significant benefits our day services can provide for users and their families with the risks of groups of them coming together to use them.

“We are working closely with our colleagues across the City Region to ensure we are taking a coordinated and proportional approach that ensures people can understand what is happening and what is not and that no-one is missing out because they are a resident of a particular area.”

Sefton Council has told care providers it will be arranging a meeting with them in the coming days to discuss the concerns and questions and they may have.