Jewish Care has “suspended all visits to our care homes” as it increases precautions to counter coronavirus.
The charity implemented changes across its 10 homes after it cancelled major events last week in a bid to prevent the infection’s spread.
Among measures are a new screening process, self-isolation, deep cleaning and the use of sanitisation products, as well as a ban on children under the age of 12 from visiting any of its sites.
The charity said it has “also taken the very difficult and painful decision that in order to keep residents in our care homes, along with our staff and volunteers safe, we have suspended all visits to our care homes.”
“Exceptions to this will be for relatives visiting loved ones receiving end of life care and visiting medical professionals.
“To support this, we will do whatever we can to help facilitate phone calls, FaceTime or a Skype call with a loved one instead of a physical visit.
“We understand that this will be distressing for both residents in our homes and their relatives, however it is important that we take all precautions necessary to prevent the spread of coronavirus to those we care for.”
The charity also asks for visitors to not come to any of its sites if they have “recently travelled anywhere abroad in the last 14 days”, or if they’re feeling unwell .
It adds that all its independent living sites, dementia day centres and community services will continue as normal – but that children under 12 won’t be allowed in.
Jewish Care’s Chief Executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown said the moves were made “with attention given to the nature of our work with older people who may be at higher risk of being affected by an outbreak.
“Our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of those in our care, and we will continue to do all we can to help prevent any outbreak or spread of the virus.”
Over the weekend, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that elderly people are likely to be asked to self-isolate for up to four months.
It was also announced that Boris Johnson or one of his senior ministers will hold daily press conferences to update the public on the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, with the first of the daily briefings expected to focus on plans to shield elderly and vulnerable citizens, household isolation and mass gatherings.
Meanwhile, Nightingale Hammerson House in Clapham said it will allow “one visitor per resident at any one time with no visits from those who are unwell.
“We are setting up schedules for relatives to have a time with their loved ones on a phone call or Skype call so that friends and family can remain in contact. Relatives are all being very understanding and sending in messages of support for our staff.”