As part of Step 4 of the roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions the Department of Health and Social Care has announced the following changes to care home guidance to take place from 19 July 2021.
Under the new guidance:
GOV.UK: Guidance on care home visiting
- Every care home resident can now have an unlimited number of named visitors, with no limit on the number of visitors at any one time or on a given day.
- Every care home resident can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs. The essential care giver should be enabled to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak (but not if the essential care giver or resident are COVID-positive).
- Named visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum (excluding essential care givers). Physical contact like handholding is acceptable if hand washing protocols are followed. Close personal contact such as hugging presents higher risks but will be safer if it is between people who are double vaccinated, without face-to-face contact, and there is brief contact only.
- Care homes can also continue to offer visits to friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows.
- Visits will pause for a minimum of 14 days rather than 28 days following an outbreak.
More detail on how to become a named visitor or essential care giver how to make your visit COVID-safe and what to expect when visiting a loved one is on the GOV.UK website:
GOV.UK: Summary of guidance for visitors
Visits out of care homes during COVID-19
- Residents are able to go to medical appointments, a workplace, educational setting and day centres without having to self-isolate.
- Residents can also visit friends and family outdoors and take outdoor visits to parks, beaches or gardens.
- Visits will only pause for a minimum of 14 days rather than 28 days following an outbreak.
GOV.UK: Visits out of care homes during COVID-19
It remains the responsibility of care home managers to develop their own policies around visits and visitors in consultation with residents and their families.