Every Effort Being Made to Maintain Visiting Throughout Christmas, says Care Home Chairman

A specialist care provider says rigorous infection control procedures and risk management will help to ensure that visiting into and out of its care centres continues throughout the Christmas period, as the government announces new rules on visitor numbers.

Neil Russell, chair of neurological care provider PJ Care, says that visiting rights will be maintained as much as possible despite the threat of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, following changes from the government which will permit three visitors and an essential care giver per resident as of Wednesday 15th December.

PJ Care has had strict infection control procedures since the start of the pandemic that has limited the spread of any COVID cases, which means that only those who have tested positive for COVID cannot have visitors, and these will continue, he adds.

Likewise, any requests from residents to go home for Christmas will be thoroughly risk assessed, based on the individual needs of each resident, he notes.

PJ Care provides neurological care for adults with progressive conditions such as dementia, Huntington’s disease and acquired brain injuries. The company runs two specialist care centres in Milton Keynes and another in Peterborough.

Neil also welcomes news that £300 million is being made available by the government to the sector to pay for bonuses and bring forward planned pay rises for care staff. However, he adds that while the details are vague currently, once details have been released on how to access this, it will be used to reward frontline staff.

“Our frontline nursing and care staff have provided outstanding levels of care throughout the pandemic to our residents and will continue to do so,” he says. “This money will help to provide much-deserved bonuses – provided enough is there, as it will have to be split potentially between thousands of care providers.

“What we really need is more funding for local authorities and health authorities who pay for our residents’ care, so we can afford to give our staff extra in their pay packet every month. Higher rates of pay will also help to attract new staff into the industry, to ensure we as a sector can provide much-needed care and support the NHS.”

Neil adds that the government is “behind the curve” with the directive to increase the number of weekly lateral flow tests staff are required to have from two to three and for weekly PCR tests to be taken as PJ Care – and many other care providers – require staff to take more tests than this already.









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