The inability for families to visit elderly relatives in residential care during the pandemic has become a major factor in a growing reluctance for many people to consider care homes for their loved ones going forwards.
To address this problem many care homes have developed safe visiting spaces which allow families to safely meet. Search for care homes with a safe visiting space.
And to help families find the care homes that have put these facilities in place, Autumna has developed a new searchable ‘Safe Visiting Spaces’ tab that sits within the S.A.F.E. infection control section.
As Debbie Harris, founder of Autumna puts it:
“This is a significant piece of functionality on our website and will be of great benefit both to the care provider and the consumer.”
“Our advice line has taken a significant increase in enquiries lately, from people looking for nursing home care where the level of nursing needed really calls for residential care. But people are trying to delay the inevitable for as long as possible, because of the visiting restrictions.”
Many care homes though have gone to great lengths and invested significant amounts of money in providing safe spaces so that visiting can continue.
What the public needs is to be able to find them. Autumna’s new tab will enable them to do that.
The main criteria for safe visiting spaces are that they have good airflow and can be accessed by an external door. If the only access is via a route through the care home, then infection control can be compromised.
As an example, a garden room can make a perfect safe visiting space and many care homes have them. For those that don’t, then there is now a brisk trade in either renting or purchasing outdoor ‘pods.’
Pods are generally designed with surfaces and structures that are easy to wipe clean, however, to ensure they are as warm and welcoming as possible, soft furnishings are generally introduced. This obviously makes the task of disinfecting them after each visit more problematic, but some interesting innovations are increasingly being utilised.
Many pods for example come with “no-touch” (automated) decontamination technologies such as aerosol and vaporised hydrogen peroxide fogging machines or other devices that use UV light to sterilise surfaces.
Whether the pods are temporary or permanent structures, they represent infection, prevention and control procedures (IPC) that far exceed current government guidelines.
For many old and vulnerable people, the social aspects of a care home have in the past been extremely beneficial. With visiting restrictions in place during the pandemic though, that aspect of person-centred care has been understandably compromised.
Now with the introduction of a growing number of safe visiting spaces, care homes should once again be seen as a sensible option where the level of nursing needed means care at home is not enough.
Debbie Harris will be discussing how care homes are addressing infection, prevention and control issues in her webinar ‘How to choose a care home during a pandemic’ on Saturday 14thNovember 2020 at 10.30am.
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