Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is pleased to report that each resident can now have an increased number of visitors Following the issuing of the updated Care Home visiting guidance by the Scottish Government.

From tomorrow (Thursday 13th August) visiting outdoors can be extended to up to 3 visitors from 2 households with all precautions remaining in place. The length of each visit will continue to be approximately 30 minutes and the frequency of visits will continue to be weekly.

A spokesperson said: “Residents’ safety and wellbeing has been our main concern throughout the pandemic, and as we progress through the route map to recovery, it is important that we continue to manage safety alongside supporting wellbeing and enabling safe social contact. Vigilance around COVID-19 symptoms continues to be critical  (and staying at home when these are present) alongside hand hygiene, increased cleaning, physical distancing and PPE which are all key features of good Infection Prevention Control.”

Given the increase in visitors, a short questionnaire is being added to the visiting protocol.. The four questions visitors will have to answer are as follows:  Have you felt unwell recently – especially with a cough, breathlessness, tiredness, a temperature or vomiting or diarrhoea?; Have you been in contact with someone, in the past 14 days, who is suspected of having or is confirmed as having COVID-19?; Have you been told by your GP or other NHS professional that you should not be visiting a care home? and Do you consent to your contact details being passed to Public Health as part of the ‘Test and Protect’ strategy, should there be a necessity following your visit to the care home, for example if the person you are visiting develops COVID-19 symptoms.

The next aim, in addition to outdoor visits, is to progress to a single nominated visitor for indoor visits. Plans are to commence with these indoor visits by the 24th August, but this is dependent on the rate of transmission of COVID 19 at the time. Risk assessments will be completed by each Care Home and approved by the Director of Public Health prior to indoor visits.

The spokesperson added: “Further information will be provided on the specific indoor visiting protocol closer to the time. The prospect of indoor visiting is a welcome development as even although this is summertime, the weather has not made outdoor visiting comfortable or possible at times.  We thank all concerned once again for their patience and understanding.”