Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our response to the sustained Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – updated July 2022

Although the Government has now removed all restrictions for the general public the ECHO Group continues to take the health and wellbeing of our Patients, Services Users and staff very seriously especially as the virus is still very active nationally and infection rates remain high.

The Department of Health & Social Care have updated the guidance for health and social care settings, and there are still robust procedures in relation to testing for staff, PPE and infection prevention and control (IPC). We continue to have a IPC/COVID-19 Response Procedure and Risk Assessment in place for each Service.

This procedure and risk assessment are reviewed regularly and enable us to take all the necessary steps to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard our Patients, Service Users and staff teams as much as possible and this is just as important now as we learn to live with the virus.

In relation to visiting there are no restrictions on numbers and the amounts of visits, but all visitors must still complete a declaration form and although testing is no longer a requirement for a visit to go ahead there is the option of having a rapid test to help protect the person you are visiting and those around them. Even if you are fully vaccinated we still recommend a rapid test as you can still catch the virus and spread it although the risk is much reduced.

The following advice from ECHO will highlight the continued steps the organisation is taking across its sites in relation to COVID-19 and visitors. Please read this before visiting one of our Services.

For comprehensive information about the coronavirus itself, please visit either the or NHS websites, or call NHS 24 (Scotland only).

Before visiting an ECHO service – Friends & Family
ECHO services are fully open to visiting but before visiting, please consider the following:

  • Are you currently feeling unwell? Please do not visit an ECHO service for any reason if you currently feel unwell, particularly if you have a cough, a fever or high temperature, have a loss of taste or smell or have shortness of breath.
  • If you are living with, or have come into contact with, someone that is unwell recently we would also request that you don’t proceed with your visit unless absolutely necessary. If it does go ahead, we may take extra precautions in relation to social distancing and PPE.
  • If you would like to have a COVID-19 rapid test prior to your visit this will take approximately 15-20 minutes so please plan this time into your visit. If you test positive your visit will not be able to proceed.
  • We would like all visitors to have been vaccinated as this reduces the risk significantly, but this will not stop visits going ahead.

If you are unsure whether you should visit, please speak to the Home/Service Manager before visiting the Service.

We do appreciate that Patients and Service Users want to see their family and friends, so we will do all we can to support visits and they have such a positive impact on the person being visited. Even though restrictions have been lifted we still have to balance this with the risks and maintaining people’s health and wellbeing, including that of the teams providing care and support. If we have an outbreak, we may still suspend visits for a short period.

How to safely visit an ECHO service:

Having considering the above information if you are still planning to visit it is important that you do so safely and in a way that minimises the risk of infection to our Patients, Service Users and colleagues. Therefore, before visiting and whilst on site, please consider the following:

  • Hand washing. It is still important that you wash your hands thoroughly before you visit the service, and regularly whilst you are at the site. Please make sure you wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, using either hot water and soap or 60% alcohol sanitiser gel.
  • Coughs and sneezes. We understand there are many reasons why someone may have a cough or sneeze. However, whilst visiting a site please make sure you have a tissue with you at all times so that you can catch a cough or sneeze. Please then immediately dispose of the tissue in the bin. Remember – Catch it. Bin it. Kill it.
  • We will try to ensure that internal areas used for visiting are well ventilated as this helps disperse the Covid-19 virus and reduces the risk.
  • If you would like to wear a mask whilst visiting this is fine and if you don’t have one we can provide one.
  • You will be asked to complete a Visiting Declaration and Consent Form and in addition to the offer of a rapid test your temperature will be taken. If your temperature is outside of the normal range (above 37.8c) your visit will not be able to go ahead.
  • Visits will be conducted in designated areas which include garden areas, designated rooms inside and also some peoples living accomodation.
  • Some Patients & Service Users may be more vulnerable to Covid-19 due to various characteristics so there may be individual visiting requirements in place. The Service will be able to tell you if this applies to the person you are visiting.

Protecting our Patients/Service Users and colleagues
Regardless of the removal of restrictions please be assured that ECHO is treating this sustained pandemic with the utmost seriousness and comprehensive contingency plans are in place in the event of a coronavirus outbreak at a Service.

We have already taken action and have developed the policies and protocols needed to make sure ECHO can continue to provide high-quality and person-centred care and support whilst supporting visiting.

ECHO will be monitoring and reacting to the latest guidance issued by the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, the NHS, and public health bodies.

This page will be updated to reflect the latest information and advice including any additional steps we are taking to protect Patients/Service Users and colleagues, as and when this is required.