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This page is for anyone who requires information and updates about how we are dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic across MHA care homes, retirement living and community group services.

We are constantly reviewing the guidance coming out from Government about what this means for our residents and their relatives, members and volunteers. Please be assured we are taking the necessary measures to ensure colleagues, residents, members and volunteers are not put at any unnecessary risk. 

We have coordinated a phased approach to reintroducing visitors to our care homes and retirement living in England, Scotland and Wales. Where a home or scheme has an active outbreak or is in a location experiencing a regional lockdown it will remain closed to visitors until Public Health advise that they are able to open again. 

If there is a regional lockdown in place, you will not be able to visit loved ones. Please follow local information and if you are unsure please contact the home for more information. In these cases, the end of an outbreak will be defined when Public Health declares the local lockdown is over. This is to account for national differences and changing guidance.

Read our latest advice and information about how our services are responding to the coronavirus outbreak:

Information for relatives and friends of residents in our care homes

1. My loved one is a resident in one of your care homes, can I visit them? 

We recognise and appreciate that restrictions on visiting loved ones in care homes has had an impact on our residents, their families and friends. 

For visiting in England, please read our latest update isued 6 November 2020 here

MHA has been working on our guidance to enable indoor visits to start up again in our care homes and this work has now been completed.

To help with visiting, and the different scenarios, we have produced a handy guide called ‘Care home safe visiting guidance’ which takes you through the different types of visiting in our homes. In addition, you can read more about visits by Essential Family Carers and how these are enabled in our guide More than just a visitor

Please check with your care home when making an appointment to see if visiting is allowed as this can be subject to local restrictions. 

The Government guidance states that the decision or visiting will be led by the decision of the local Director of Public Health and Local Authority, and that:

  • Homes must be free of COVID-19 for 28 days

  • In certain assessed situations, visits can take place in either a designated room or a resident’s bedroom

  • Only one designated visitor is allowed for each resident

  • Visits must be booked beforehand

  • All visitors need to follow infection control guidance, including social distancing and/or wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Visitors will need to provide the home with their contact details so they can be contacted by NHS Test and Trace if necessary.

You can read the guidance for Wales here and Scotland here as their guidance differs slightly. 

In addition, we have produced guidance for residents who want to leave the care home for a trip out, either for medical appointments, a short walk or a shopping trip. To find out more, please read our advice for residents going out.

2. What is the process for visiting my loved one? 

Indoor visits are now happening in some MHA care homes where possible and where there is a suitable room. 

You need to book a visiting time in advance with the home, and also check with them that visits are allowed as these are subject to a variety of different criteria, such as if a home is in an area under local restrictions. 

Please contact your individual home to confirm a visitor appointment during office hours. There is further information contained within this page on visitor guidance. Please read this information before calling the home.

Full contact details for all our care homes can be accessed using our online service finder >

3. What measures are you taking to ensure it is safe?  

Before allowing visitors to see relatives, all our homes will conduct individual risk assessments to ensure the highest control measures are in place to maintain the safety of our relatives, visitors and our colleagues.

The following guidelines must be adhered to by any relative or family member wishing to visit one of our homes:

  • No visiting will be permitted if you are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms such as feeling unwell, a new/continuous cough, sickness or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours, a raised temperature, changes in taste and/or smell.

  • Family members must not visit if they have been identified as a contact of a positive case and must self-isolate for 14 days.

  • You must book a time slot with the home. Visiting outside this slot won’t be permitted.

  • Where possible, please walk, use your own transport or use a taxi firm that demonstrates safe COVID-19 practices to visit your loved one. Please, wherever possible, avoid using public transport.

  • Please ensure you use the toilet prior to visiting as there will be no access to the toilet within the care home during the visit.

  • Where available, you may be asked to use an alternative entrance designated for family members only (this will be dependent on the home).

  • Upon arrival, you will be given a copy of these guidance points for your visit.

  • Your booked visit will last for approximately 30 minutes.

  • To limit the number of visitors in our homes, visits will be limited to two designated family members from the same household or two members of different households visiting on different days. These will need to be the same two people each week.

  • You will be required to use hand washing facilities or alcohol gel prior to and after the visit; if using handwashing facilities there will be a designated area for visitors to do this.

  • Social distancing principles must be applied – you must be a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from residents and staff (these same principles must be applied where a resident prefers to walk around the garden with their family member).

  • You and your loved one will be asked to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) (masks and gloves based on individual risk assessment). This is likely to apply to any situations where there’s a chance there won’t be compliance with social distancing. 

  • At this time we will not be permitting visitors under 18 years-of-age.

  • Where possible, please bring your own flask and cups. There must be no use of kitchenettes.

  • Unfortunately, you will be unable to have conversations with staff at the time of your visit (this can be arranged over the phone post-visit).

  • If you wish to bring in a gift, it will need to be something that can be easily cleaned by the care home to prevent cross-contamination.

4. If I can’t visit my loved one, can I find out if they’re okay and what is going on in the home? 

If the home your relative is living in has an active outbreak of coronavirus, either among staff or residents, unfortunately, you will not be able to visit until there has been a two week period with no new cases. Homes can also be limited for visiting due to local or national restrictions and may only allow what are classed as essential visits only, such as end of life care. 

We appreciate this time is incredibly hard and emotional for your family and your loved one in our care, however, we have had to take this very difficult decision to minimise the spread of Coronavirus and keep our residents and colleagues as safe as possible.

Our chaplaincy service has a support service for relatives. If you would like to speak with your home’s chaplain, this can be arranged through the home. To speak with the central chaplaincy team, please call 01332 296200 and ask to be put through to them. 

We’re encouraging our homes to provide updates on what is going on in the home through their individual Facebook pages. If you’re able to, please go to Facebook, and follow both MHA and also the specific home your loved one lives in to get the latest updates. Please note, you will be unable to find out the condition of specific residents through these pages, but you will get an understanding of the latest updates and activities going on in the home.

Our care homes are also working hard to provide a series of limited and appropriate activities for their residents, as well as using technology to help families stay in touch through the use of software such as Skype.

If you’re not able to access this, please contact the specific care home to arrange how you can receive updates on your loved one, and the activities from the home. To allow the staff to attend to the residents during the busy morning period, and to ensure health professionals and vital deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) can get through to the home, it would be greatly appreciated if at all possible you could call the home after 11.30am.

5. How can you guarantee the level of care for my loved one at this time?  

Our fantastic colleagues and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure our residents are receiving the excellent care and support as always, so please rest assured your loved ones are in compassionate and caring hands.

Unfortunately, some of our colleagues are off work due to shielding, self-isolation or they, sadly, have contracted Covid-19. We’re working really hard to support our homes and schemes across the country and are currently recruiting to make sure staffing levels are maintained. They are then trained, ready and waiting to step in and continue giving your loved one the fantastic care and support they deserve.  

In addition, our homes continue to follow our strict policies on infection control as well as guidance from Public Health. All those working and visiting our care homes will be wearing appropriate PPE at all times while inside. 

If we have a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19 in our homes or schemes, then we will isolate the resident and care for them in their own room.

6. Guidance and support on the paying of fees and charges at this time 

There is information on support for people on fees and payments during the coronavirus outbreak.

7. Are all homes and schemes practising social distancing? 

In order to provide personal care and support, our staff are required to be in very close proximity to our residents. Carers will also be close to multiple residents each day. Many of our residents are living with dementia and are unable to practice social distancing, which is why we have such stringent hygiene protocols in place.

In terms of how we operate within each home, we continue to adhere to the latest Government guidance on residential care provision.

8. Are you testing for coronavirus in colleagues and residents? 

Very early on we recognised that regular testing of our staff and residents in care homes was key to making sure we limited the spread of coronavirus and risk to those we care for. 

We were successful in being part of a pilot on routine testing, which eventually led to the weekly testing of all care home staff and the monthly testing of all residents, not just at MHA but in all care homes in England, Wales and Scotland.  

While we have routine testing, please be assured we are continuing to make sure this remains the case as we know how important it is in picking up people who have Covid-19 but who are asymptomatic, that is they show no symptoms. 

We are now pressing for care home visitors to be added to the weekly testing so the risk is reduced even further and means visits are more likely to be able to continue.

9. Are you providing personal protective equipment (PPE) in your homes and schemes? 

We want to assure you that because MHA runs 160 care homes and retirement living schemes across the country, we are able to make sure that all of our sites have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for our employees and residents, as we are able to re-allocate and move supplies between our services. 

We are constantly monitor our stock levels on a daily basis to make sure all our homes and schemes have the PPE they require.

All our teams know they are to wear appropriate PPE at all times while they are in our home and schemes to help prevent the risk of spreading Covid-19.

10. My loved one is on end of life care. Can I be with them? 

End of life visits will be maintained wherever it is possible for us to do so as we recognise the importance of these for our residents and their family and friends. 

Your home will be able to talk to you about how these visits will happen, including arranging them beforehand and length of visit.

Information on new admissions into our care homes

1. Are you still accepting new care home admissions? 

Yes, many of our care homes are still able to take new admissions.

We are working closely with our local authorities and NHS and are very much aware there are individuals within our local community who may now be vulnerable because of self-isolation.

If you feel that a loved one could benefit from being admitted into a care home during this time, please contact your local MHA care home for further details in the first instance. Full contact details for your nearest MHA care home can be found on our service finder >

2. Can I still visit a care home as part of the enquiry process? 

Yes, you will be able to arrange a viewing of your care home of choice, but there are certain restrictions in place to ensure the ongoing safety of our current residents and members of staff.

You will be able to visit communal areas within the home (lounge, dining areas for example) but visits to some floors and resident bedrooms will be restricted. The exact itinerary for a tour will be confirmed on the day of your visit by the care home manager.

We are sorry but we can only accept two visitors (including any potential resident) at one time, both of whom will need to wear supplied personal protective equipment (PPE).  

Unfortunately, we can only accept visitors as part of the new admission process. All other restrictions to external visitors currently remain the same.

3. What procedures are in place for any new admissions into a care home? 

Any new resident or hospital admission to one of our care homes are put into self-isolation for 14 days, as per the Government guidelines. This is to ensure the continued safety of all existing residents and members of staff. Learn more about how new care home residents are supported during the 14 day isolation period.

If there are no symptoms of COVID-19 after 14 days, then self-isolation restrictions will be removed.

Any admission will need a negative COVID-19 test before being admitted to one of our homes.

4. I want to make a professional admissions referral to your home. What should I do? 

In the first instance, please contact the care manager directly. The home manager will be able to discuss your requirements and identify any particular admission support and discuss fees/funding information.

If you do decide to use one of our homes, then any new admission will be put in self-isolation for the first 14 days as detailed in the ‘What procedures are in place for any new admissions into a care home?’ tab. Learn more about how new care home residents are supported during the 14 day isolation period.

Full contact details for your nearest MHA care home can be found on our service finder >

Information for relatives and friends of residents in our retirement living schemes

1. Can I visit my relative/friend in their retirement living scheme? 

After consulting with a representation of scheme managers and a group of relatives following the new Government guidelines, we have coordinated a phased approach to re-introducing visitors to our retirement living schemes. Initially this will be for garden visits only to our retirement living schemes in England and Wales without an active COVID-19 outbreak. We are waiting for Scotland to ease the lockdown before we are able to open to any form of visiting there.

Please note - any scheme with an active outbreak of coronavirus will continue to be closed for visitors. Any scheme that have previously had confirmed Coronavirus cases will need to have had 28 days with no new cases or symptoms after the first day of most recent case and dependent on advice from Public Health before opening to visitors. 

2. What is the process for visiting my relative/friend? 

We are allowing visitors to book a slot in advance to arrange a retirement living scheme garden visit. Wherever possible (weather permitting), visits will be made outside in the grounds and gardens. Where the weather does not allow for this, these visits will unfortunately need to be rearranged.

Please contact your individual scheme to confirm a visitor appointment during office hours. There is further information contained within this page on visitor guidance. Please read this information before calling the scheme.

Full contact details for all our retirement living schemes can be accessed using our online service finder >

3. What measures are you taking to ensure it is safe?  

Before allowing visitors to see relatives, all our schemes will conduct individual risk assessments to ensure the highest control measures are in place to maintain the safety of our relatives, visitors and our colleagues.

The following guidance must be adhered to by any relative or family member wishing to visit one of our schemes:

  • You must not visit if you have symptoms of or actual COVID-19
  • Where there is a COVID-19 outbreak, the scheme will be closed to visitors until 14 days after the first day of most recent case and dependent on advice from Public Health
  • Visiting must be pre-arranged through booking a visiting slot
  • Visits will be pre-agreed and will be limited to a maximum of one hour per visitor
  • Two family members from the same household are able to visit weekly (or two family members from different households visiting once a week on different days)
  • Children who are under 18 years-of-age must not visit
  • You are required to use hand washing facilities or alcohol gel prior to and after the visit
  • You may be asked to wear PPE – (masks and gloves) based on individual risk assessment (mainly if there is the likelihood that there won’t be compliance with social distancing)
  • We ask that you continue to use social distancing principles - applying a physical distance of two metres (six foot) from residents and staff
  • It is possible that you will be asked to use an alternative entrance designated for family members only.
  • All internal areas will be out of bounds for the duration of your visit. If access to gardens is required though the scheme, the route will be planned and managed and areas sanitised post visit.
  • Visitors are reminded to use the toilet prior to the visit as these will be out of bounds as situated in communal areas.

Visitors will not be able to have a conversations with staff during their visit. If there is something that you want to speak with a staff member about post visit then please call them by telephone when you get home.

Where your loved one is very poorly then the manager is able to facilitate a visit - please contact the scheme directly and they will support a family member to do so.

4. How can you guarantee the level of care for my relative/friend at this time? 

Our fantastic colleagues and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure our residents are receiving the excellent care and support as always, so please rest assured your loved ones are in compassionate and caring hands.

Unfortunately, some of our colleagues are off work due to shielding, self-isolation or they, sadly, have become symptomatic. We’re working really hard to support our homes and schemes across the country and have launched a national recruitment drive to ensure the staffing levels are maintained. They are then trained, ready and waiting to step in and continue giving your loved one the fantastic care and support they deserve.  

In addition, our homes and schemes continue to follow our strict policies on infection control as well as guidance from Public Health England.

If we have a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus in our homes or schemes, then we will isolate the resident and care for them in their own room. Carers will wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

5. Are you providing personal protective equipment (PPE) in your homes and schemes? 

We want to assure you that because MHA runs 160 care homes and retirement living schemes across the country, we are able to make sure that all of our sites have sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for our colleagues and residents, as we are able to re-allocate and move supplies between our services. This does not, however, take away from the fact that resources are stretched and the current distribution and allocation mechanisms need to be addressed by the Government as a matter of urgency.

We are constantly reviewing our stocks and moving reallocating PPE on a daily basis to ensure all our homes and schemes have the PPE they require. 

We know this is very concerning for our colleagues, their families and our residents. We are stringently following the Public Health advice on the use and types of PPE including when to wear and not wear face masks and which type of gown or apron to use. Please be assured the health and safety of our colleagues and residents remains our top priority.

Information about retirement living sales and lettings

Are you accepting new sales and lettings into your retirement living schemes? 

Across our retirement living services we have had to delay new residents moving in due to restrictions imposed on the property market by government. However now that these restrictions have eased we are starting to plan how to support potential applicants to view and move into our schemes safely.

This will include carrying out a series of risk assessments to make sure that applicants, residents, families and staff are kept as safe as possible. We will take into account any Covid-19 cases in the scheme at the time. Read our latest guide on retirement living sales and lettings for more information.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Sales Team, please call 0800 479 2224 or email us at sales@mha.org.uk

Information about how MHA Communities services and activities are affected

How MHA Communities services and activities are affected 

We understand the decision that we took to pause all MHA Communities services in mid-March was hard and continues to be hard. But our primary objective was and continues to be, the safety of our members, volunteers and colleagues. As the virus is still circulating in the community it would be reckless of us to simply go back to the way in which our schemes operated before the start of the pandemic. Therefore our groups, clubs, classes and activities which bring people together will, sadly, remain paused for the time being.

Over the last three months, our schemes have worked tirelessly to introduce revised services for members. For example, we have co-ordinated over 20,000 telephone befriending calls, made thousands of food and shopping deliveries, produced and circulated newsletters and have been joined by hundreds of people online, participating in various video-based activities and classes.

However, as lockdown measures are eased and as the management of risk to safe levels allows, we will continue to actively review the situation.

We have been keeping under review how we can safely reinstate and support some scenarios of face-to-face befriending between volunteers and members, especially now the Government has started to ease lockdown measures. This latest review will be completed by the end of June and we expect to be able to issue guidelines and a robust risk assessment across our network of schemes shortly afterwards.

Additionally, a working group, including input from our Clinical and Infection Control leads, will review how and when we could potentially reintroduce or offer an outdoor-based activity to small groups. This could include things like outdoor exercise or walking. There is no timeframe on this yet as it needs to be explored thoroughly, again to make sure we effectively manage risk and safeguard our members, volunteers and colleagues.

Information on working or volunteering for MHA

Recruitment – how you can apply for paid-for and volunteer roles 

We are looking to recruit across a variety of paid and volunteer roles at MHA. These will help us to continue our work and enable people to live later life well. We cannot do this without the dedicated and inspiring work our fantastic colleagues and volunteers deliver across our services, and you could join us on this journey.

Whether you already work in care, or are coming from another industry such as hospitality, retail or travel and searching for a new role, you have the opportunity to make a real difference at a time when your commitment is needed most.

If you’re looking for a paid-for role – visit our current vacancies page

If you’d like to volunteer – visit our volunteering page

Information on how you can support MHA during the coronavirus outbreak

Make a donation to our COVID-19 Appeal 

We would appreciate any charitable support that you're able to offer during this difficult time which will enable us to continue providing the high-quality care and support that we are recognised for, which is safe to both our residents and care teams. Please make a donation today.

Information for the press and media 

How to contact MHA if you have a media enquiry 

Please contact our PR Manager Theresa Knight by calling 07817 011502 or emailing press@mha.org.uk for media enquiries.

As you will appreciate, our Corporate Affairs team are working hard to service all the media enquiries we receive, and will come back to you as soon as possible. Many thanks for your understanding.

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