Stockport Council supports care home providers so residents and their families can keep in touch until visits resume

The new restrictions introduced for Stockport advise that visits to care homes should only take place in exceptional circumstances.

We have asked that care homes follow the government guidance, and this is for everyone’s safety, but we also understand how disappointing this is for our care home residents and their friends and families.

We recognise that these visits are an important part of residents’ health and wellbeing and this is why we are working in partnership with care homes across the borough to ensure that residents can still keep in touch with their families and friends.

We are working closely with providers to ensure that robust risk assessments are in place for indoor visiting once visiting can resume, and written guidance has been produced to support providers through the process.

Over half of the borough’s care homes have already had their risk assessments approved and the remaining risk assessments will be completed ready for when restrictions are lifted.

We are also awaiting the outcome of proposals that have been put forward to Senior Leaders in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Health & Social Care Partnership to agree a regional approach that manages risks effectively so visits can be resumed as soon as possible.

In May, the council took the decision to issue tablets to every care home in the borough after recognising that face-to-face visits from families had been restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic. These were greatly received by residents and proved to be a lifeline for many.

We are continuing to work with providers to encourage them to support their residents to keep in touch with their families by using the tablets provided, making telephone calls and letter writing, to keep this vital line of communication open.

Providers have also come up with innovative ways of supporting their residents’ needs, for example providing a live stream of services at churches/places of worship, which has been a great comfort to many.

Cllr Jude Wells, Cabinet Member for Adult Care and Health at Stockport Council said: "The news of new restrictions that advise visits to care homes should only take place in exceptional circumstances is disappointing and I am sure a source of frustration to residents and their families.

“However, with infection rates rising significantly across the borough, Greater Manchester and the North West, the protection of residents in our care homes and the most vulnerable in our society is our utmost priority.

“We will continue to work closely with the care homes to ensure there are alternative methods for loved ones to keep in touch and that residents are supported in this difficult time.”

The new restrictions came into effect on Friday 25 September and advised that all forms of visiting, both indoor and outdoor, should only take place in exceptional circumstances until further notice.