The Government has published new Guidance on care home visiting. It acknowledges that “welcoming anyone into care homes from the community inevitably brings risk of COVID-19 transmission. However, these risks can be managed and mitigated, and they should be balanced against the importance of visiting and the benefits it brings to care home residents and their families.’
Since 8 March 2021 the Government advice is to support safe visiting:
- Every care home resident will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits.
- 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 prevention 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 however, we should always be mindful that physical contact can risk transmission, so if possible, try to keep it to a minimum. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging. This is always a challenge for families, but it is important that the visitor remains the same person as far as possible.
- Residents with the highest care needs will also be able to nominate an essential care giver. Good news for those relatives/friends who, previously helped their cared for with some daily living tasks – like eating and drinking.
- Care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.
If the care home has an COVID-19 outbreak or is in an outbreak situation visiting has to stop (except in exceptional circumstances such as end of life – and for essential care givers, unless there are specific reasons not to do the latter) to protect residents, staff and visitors. For more details on what is a definition of an outbreak – see section 1.4 in the guidance.
The below attachment includes some suggestions for planning to visit a loved one/friend in a care home and tips on Preparing for the visit.
We have provided a draft letter which can be used when contacting the home in which a relative/loved one is looked after, to discuss what has been done to make arrangements to enable the Single Named Visitor Scheme.
Draft Care Home letter.