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Staff at 11 homes in the city have been trained to give lateral flow tests (LFTs) as part of Liverpool’s wider community-testing pilot which will mean that protective screens are not necessary during visits.
The care home pilot, led by Liverpool City Council, will last for two weeks and it is then hoped that the testing process will be offered to all other care homes in the city.
Visiting slots must be pre-booked directly with care homes and a risk management plan will be in place for each resident.
To keep residents as safe as possible one visitor wearing full PPE will be allowed for each visit and visits will be for 30 minutes (preceded by a waiting time of 30 minutes for a second LFT result) during daytime only.
The 11 homes in the pilot are: Abbeydale, Alt Park, Breckside Park, Cressington Court, Garden Lodge, Glenarie Manor, Greenacres, Oak Vale Gardens, Redcourt, Wavertree, and Granby Hub.
For homes not in the pilot programme, indoor visiting can take place following national guidance which is set out on the council’s website here. However, if there are any Covid-19 cases or suspected cases in a home visits will be suspended.
Unlike other areas of the country, Liverpool has never had a blanket ban on visits to care homes, except where there was an outbreak of Covid-19. Outdoors visits have been allowed throughout the pandemic subject to a risk-assessment for each resident by their home.
The care home pilot has been developed from learning from Liverpool’s citywide SMART (Smart Asymptomatic Meaningful Repeated Testing) pilot that started on 6 November.
“One of the main reasons why as a city Liverpool welcomed asymptomatic serial testing was to work towards allowing more meaningful visits in its care homes.
“This has been a complicated project where we have had to balance the safety of vulnerable residents and care home staff with the emotional needs and well-being of everyone touched by the care home sector.
“As with the wider testing pilot, I would ask family members to work with the care homes and their staff as we work out how the visiting process looks on the ground.
“Again, if we do this right, this is another opportunity to enhance people’s lives, not just in the rest of Liverpool’s care homes but also in the rest of the country.”
“We know that the last few months have been incredibly tough on family members and their loved ones who are looked after in Liverpool’s care homes.
“Most of our homes have done what they can to continue with visits. But as the winter has drawn in outdoor visiting is not acceptable and we fully appreciate that indoor visits with protective screens are not the way forward that any of us really want.
“The testing pilot in homes is another chance for Liverpool to lead the way and I would like to thank the homes which are working with the council on its pilot.
“But, above all, I want to thank the families for their patience during these long months.”
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