6. Sheltered housing residents
Most residents in sheltered, very sheltered or extra care housing complexes are likely to be at risk if they were to contract COVID-19 due to frailty and other conditions. Social distancing is therefore essential.
Anticipation and prevention of COVID-19
In many respects the advice and guidance for these residents resembles that for people who live in their own home and are at risk but there are additional considerations particularly around the use of communal facilities and areas such as communal rooms and laundries.
Residents are responsible for reducing their social contacts significantly in line with social distancing as per national policy. This will mean that residents will spend more time in their own flats. As before, contacts should be restricted to all but essential visits from staff or named family or friend contacts. For named family / friends it is recommended that up to two people from same household visit at a time and maintain a distance of approximately two metres apart.
Social landlords will already have methods in place for communicating with their tenants and these will be used to ensure tenants are kept up to date about any changes to the use of communal facilities and communal areas and for reminders about social distancing, self-care such as handwashing and avoidance of face touching. Existing residents groups will be able to help reinforce these messages.
Other measures will include regular hand washing with soap and water.
If provided, meals should not be consumed in communal dining areas where possible but should be eaten in residents’ flats. Where communal areas are used seating should be spaced approximately two metres apart.
There should be vigilance around cleaning in communal areas, particularly of frequently touched areas such as door handles, light switches and chairs arms where the virus can persist for up to 72 hours.
Residents should be assisted to consider completing an anticipatory care plan and sharing their wishes with their GP for the future including arrangements for care and support.