From next month, LV Care Group, will be rolling out 15-minute antigen tests across its homes, enabling the Group to test residents and staff weekly and visitors as they arrive to see their loved ones.
LV Care Group made the decision this week to close its homes to visitors and stop residents’ excursions for a period of two weeks. Nick Bettany, director of LV Care Group said it was a necessary precaution, ahead of the Group rolling out its new testing regime.
Nick commented: “We fully appreciate the decision to ‘close’ our homes to visitors for a two-week period will have an impact on many, and we regret having to make it, but our main priority must be the safety and health of our residents. We fully support the Government’s strategy and we very much welcome the fortnightly PCR testing that will be available to our residents and their family members as part of this.
“We have set a ‘closure’ period of two weeks across all LV Care Group homes in Jersey because in the coming weeks we will have new antigen tests available which will enable any visitor to our homes to be tested for Covid-19 and receive a result within 15 minutes.
“Working in partnership with our pharmacy, LV Pharmacy, we will be able to test residents, carers and nursing staff every week, and possibly more frequently and visitors every time they visit one of our homes. It is important to us that we are doing everything we can to keep our residents safe and taking every step we can to enable them to have as much access to their family members as possible.
“Some of our homes have ‘contact visitor booths’ installed, which residents and families will be able to use throughout the next two weeks. This increased testing regime within our homes, combined with the likelihood of a first vaccine becoming available in December, will further enable us to manage risk more effectively. If the majority of our residents have been vaccinated the risk will be much diminished.
“We are intensely aware that these temporary measures will be difficult emotionally for both residents and their loved ones and our teams will be focused on keeping everyone’s spirits up. It is our opinion that this course of action is more bearable than the potential risk of ‘in room isolating’ that all homes were forced to introduce at some times during the initial Covid-19 wave. We monitor the mental health and wellbeing of our residents closely on an ongoing basis, speak regularly to family members and are taking steps to manage the risk to our residents‘ mental health as effectively as we can.
“We cannot provide a precise ‘re-opening’ date for our homes but will be monitoring the situation and are taking every step we can to enable this to happen in the near future. We will be working closely with government to establish any rules and procedures that will need to be implemented when the 15-minute antigen testing is in place. We are keen to discuss the possibility of our residents having more than two loved ones visit at once, which would be a particular boost for all with the festive period approaching and the possibility of reducing the need for PPE at these visits if all parties test negative on the day of visits”.
Earlier this year LV Pharmacy became the first pharmacy in the whole of the UK to facilitate a Covid-19 community pharmacy antibody testing service by bringing multiple pharmacies together to offer their patients increased accessibility to testing and enhancing continuity of care within the community. In September it also introduced Covid-19 PCR testing to this initiative.