"Omicron has not cancelled Christmas" - care homes react to new Covid rules

A nominated care home visitor will be allowed, but they must wear full PPE and take a lateral flow t

New guidelines for care homes have been implemented ahead of this Christmas due to Omicron. - Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Omicron has certainly not cancelled Christmas.

That's the message from care homes across our region in the wake of new rules in the fight against the Omicron Covid variant.

New government guidelines state that care homes will have to limit the number of visitors to three - not including essential caregivers or preschool-aged children.

There will also have to infection prevention and control measures, individual risk assessments, testing arrangements and isolation on return from some "high-risk activities" out of the home.

Georgina Johnston is regional operations director for Kingsley Healthcare - which runs Kirkley Manor Nursing Home in Lowestoft, Eversley Nursing Home in Great Yarmouth, Lilac Lodge in Oulton Broad, Brooke House in Brooke and Heron Lodge in Wroxham . 

She said while large-scale parties would not be possible, families would still be able to visit their loved ones over the festive period in accordance with government restrictions on numbers and strict infection control procedures.

Georgian Johnston

Georgina Johnston said the festive spirit is alive and well in Kingsley Healthcare's residential homes. - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Ms Johnston said: “Christmas is such an important time for our residents and their families and our home managers are determined to make it a special time even while they are rigorously observing all the necessary Covid precautions.

Most Read

“The festive spirit has been alive in our homes for weeks."

Lavinia Carauleanu, acting manager at Kirkley Manor, said: “We will have families coming in to see their loved ones over Christmas but, because of the new government restrictions, they will be limited to three nominated visitors and a nominated care giver.

“All the decorations are up and we have been having festive entertainers coming in the home, subject to infection control procedures, including them singing behind a screen.”

A singer behind a screen performing for residents of Kirkley Manor Nursing Home.

A singer behind a screen performing for residents of Kirkley Manor Nursing Home. - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Great Yarmouth's Salisbury Residential Home, which praised its staff in April for helping the care home achieve no positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic, continues with its own rigorous measures.

Manager Nicola Humphreys said: "The restrictions won't affect our residents as we're carrying on with the system we've had since day one.

"I feel really confident and we have had no positive cases.

"Our staff are coping well.

"They all feel safe to continue as we are sticking with the structure and risk assessments in place.

"All thumbs up from us."