I remain very grateful for the support, encouragement and daily contact from many of you with the homes and directly with me in regard to our ongoing efforts of dealing with this global pandemic. All our staff appreciate this support and in particular those words of encouragement and acts of kindness offered by many.

A major issue which we have struggled with since March is the approach we take to visiting in our care homes and like you we want to see a return to ‘normal service’ as soon as is possible.

However, with so much uncertainty and lack of clarity re the best approach to minimize risk whilst maintaining social contact we have erred on the side of extreme caution. This is something we believe has been the correct approach and despite having had to contend with cases across our HCH community we feel this has helped limit the actual and potential impact.

We do recognize though that the need to interact as families is now at a point whereby something needs to change and cautiously, we have decided to reopen all our homes for visiting where guidance and compliance allows us to do so. The reopening will follow the guidance we issued previously with a few updates but the key thing for you as Next of Kin is that the appointments system which we previously operated to great effect will be operational from 30th November 2020. You can start making appointments directly with the homes from Monday 23rd November and I would ask you to ensure you are clear who your two nominated visitors will be. Please ensure that this information is shared in advance with the home manager and that all family members are aware of who has been nominated as a visitor.

I would ask you to ensure that you fully comply with the guidance and instructions of staff during the visits and please do make sure you have a face mask available upon arrival. If further PPE is needed staff will provide you with this and instruct you on how to put this on and then dispose of at the end of your visit. Visiting slots will be agreed in advance and the length of these will be agreed upon arrival with no visit exceeding 1 hour on any occasion. I would also stress that at certain visits the time may be reduced due to operational needs of the home.

We are really excited to be getting back to visiting in all our homes and we believe that if we all work together and follow the strict guidance in place, we can build on the visiting programme and ensure a return to normality is achieved very soon.

When you do arrive on site for visits please ensure that you comply with all requests from staff and know that they are there to help your visit go as smoothly as possible.

Virtual visits will also continue and staff will be happy to accommodate these on an ad hoc basis at a mutually agreeable time.

Thank you again for your patience and let’s move forward together in how we deal with this coronavirus.

Eddy Kerr