Happy New Year to Everyone, We hope that everyone is well and happy.
We hope this year we will be able to support more visits to care homes, more letter and card writing, more videos, more Christmas cards and above all more connections and support for everyone. Everyone at CHV values every reaching out and every contact whether in person, over the phone, through Zoom or in an envelope, every contact you make makes a huge difference.
At the moment we are hearing a lot about Omicron and Covid 19 impacting care home visiting, although the guidance states that residents in care homes should be able to receive visitors if all safety measures are in place, it is CHV’s experience that interpretation of guidance, staffing issues, risk assessments and other factors have impacted face to face visiting for volunteers.
What are the symptoms of Omicron? (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-59460252 accessed 6.01.22)
- Omicron appears to be more like a cold for some people, with common reported symptoms including a sore throat, runny nose and a headache
- Previous Covid variants were more likely to lead to a loss of taste or smell, a new cough and a high temperature – although these are still the three official symptoms.
Omicron symptoms: Is a runny nose a cold or Covid?
- Despite spreading much faster than the previous variant (Delta), health experts say Omicron is milder and less likely to make people ill or need treatment in hospital. That’s mainly down to protection from booster vaccines and from previous infections
- In South Africa, where it was first identified, Omicron is thought to have peaked. There are also early signs that this may be happening in London, but scientists warn there could be more problems in the UK once Omicron hits the oldest and most vulnerable populations in large numbers.
Even if you are unable to visit your local care home at the moment there are lots of other ways you can make a difference. Please speak to your Volunteer Coordinator about other ways you can reduce isolation and loneliness in care homes. All the efforts you make really do make all the difference.
How do CHV make sure you and residents are safe?
- We offer training that all our volunteers complete: including Infection Control Module
- For face to face befriending visits: we ask all volunteers to have vaccinations in accordance to government guidelines and any updated requirement (double vaccination at the moment)
- We support volunteers to have their booster
- Volunteers must take a lateral flow test and evidence a negative result on the day of the visit either by conducting the test at home immediately before their visit or when they arrive at the care home
- CHV volunteer coordinators will liaise with care homes and volunteers to prepare before visits resume
- Volunteers must communicate with the care home directly that they intend to visit the care home before they do to check there is capacity to accept the visit
- If volunteers want to support befriending activities but are not vaccinated they can support CHV though other activities which are hugely appreciated. Please speak to your volunteer coordinator
- CHV volunteers do not visit care homes with any covid symptoms and keep in contact with care homes to plan visits.
We love hearing about any activities you do and how you befriend residents in care homes so please let us know what you are doing and new ways of working that have made a difference.
Wishing you all a very happy 2022