04 Dec 20

Summary of Care Home Relatives Call

On Thursday 3 December we held a Zoom call with over 100 relatives and loved ones of our care home residents.

Written by Brunelcare
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Summary of Care Home Relatives Call

Summary of Relatives Call

On Thursday 3 December we held a Zoom call with over 100 relatives and loved ones of our care home residents.

On the call, Oona Goldsworthy, CEO, and Sandra Payne, Director of Nursing and Care Homes, provided an update.


We’re delighted to hear the news that the first Coronavirus vaccine, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, has received regulatory approval for use in the UK. This is truly the light at the end of the tunnel we have been waiting for. 

According to media reports an initial 800,000 doses will arrive shortly, with vaccinations for high-priority groups potentially starting as early as next week.

Until now, care home residents and carers have been announced as the first priority group to receive the vaccine. However, because this particular vaccine must be stored at a very low temperature, there are significant logistical challenges in getting it to care homes. As a result, the government has announced that it will first be used in hospitals, where they already have the appropriate storage facilities. 

We await clear guidance on how the vaccine will be made available to our residents and care home colleagues. As soon as we have more information, we will contact relatives and loved ones.

Testing for visitors

New guidance on care home visiting has been released this week. A key feature is the introduction of fast ‘lateral flow’ tests for visitors. These tests, which return a result within 30 minutes, are aimed to allow an increased level of visiting inside care homes.

We have been informed by CQC that we will hopefully receive these tests by 18 December.

Each resident will be allowed up to two nominated visitors who can visit up to twice a week.

There are real logistical challenges for our care homes in facilitating these visits. These include identifying dedicated spaces for testing, waiting areas, and the pressure on staff time to supervise and support these arrangements.

We are committed to keeping visiting going and recognise how important it is for both the welfare of our residents and their families.

As soon as we have the tests we will contact relatives with more information.

Relative as a carer role

In addition to changes to visiting arrangements, we have begun trialling a ‘relative as a carer’ role in one of our homes.

This involves ‘volunteer’ relatives becoming part of a particular care home’s regular testing regime. They will receive at least a weekly test and be able to ‘join’ the care home’s team to help provide support to their loved one.

If you would like to find out more about this role, please contact your relevant care home manager.


As we approach Christmas, we know many will want to see their loved ones. Even if the lateral flow visitor tests are with us by then, the logistical challenges may prevent everyone from being able to visit on Christmas Day. 

We would encourage all relatives to view the whole Christmas period as an opportunity to visit their loved one, rather than trying to fit everyone in on just the one day.

You can also rest assured that the care homes have, as usual, pulled out all of the stops to make this Christmas as special as it can be. Decorations are up and activities are continuing as always.

Home closures

A number of our homes have had to close for periods of time following positive cases of Coronavirus within either their colleague group, residents, or both.

We must always follow Public Health advice and close following an outbreak. We do so for the safety of all of our residents.

When an outbreak has occurred, we are required to remain closed until 28 days after the last positive test result. We know this is a long time to wait, and very difficult for us all, but we must always be guided by Public Health advice and guidance. 


We recognise that without regular visits, as they were before Covid, communication is more important than ever for all of our resident’s families. We’re committed to improving wherever we fall short and welcome any feedback or ideas our relatives have.

You can contact your care home manager directly at any time:

We will continue to arrange all relative calls in the coming months. Managers will also arrange home specific calls too.

Thank you

Finally, we’d like to thank all of our relatives for their understanding. We know how challenging this year has been and your support has been phenomenal.

We approach 2021 with hope. More testing is coming. A vaccine is on its way. Things will return to normal.

For now, thank you, and Merry Christmas.

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