As part of the roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions the Department of Health and Social Care has announced the following changes to guidance on visits out of care homes to take place from 4 May 2021.
GOV.UK: Visits out of care homes during COVID-19
Under the new guidance:
- Residents can leave their care homes to visit a friend or family member's garden or to take a walk and will not be required to self-isolate when they return.
- Residents on trips out must be accompanied by either a care worker or one of their two nominated visitors and follow social distancing guidelines throughout.
- Residents will also be able to vote in person in the upcoming elections on 6 May without having to self-isolate for 14 days afterwards.
- Residents cannot meet in groups or go indoors - except for the use of toilets - and public transport should be avoided where possible.
- Overnight visits will still require residents to isolate for 14 days on their return to the care home.
This guidance follows the recent update to care home visiting guidance, which came into effect from 12 April 2021:
GOV.UK: Guidance on care home visiting
- Every care home resident can nominate up to two named visitors, who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits (and will be able to visit together or separately as preferred). These visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits. Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands, but should bear in mind that any physical contact increases the risk of transmission. For this reason there should not be close physical contact such as hugging.
- In addition to their two named visitors, residents with higher care needs can also choose to nominate an essential care giver.
- Care homes can also continue to offer visits to other friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows.
More detail on how to become a named visitor or essential care giver, visiting arrangements involving children, and what to expect when visiting a loved one is on the GOV.UK website:
GOV.UK: Summary of guidance for visitors