Care home residents will be able to be visited indoors by one nominated individual from the 8th of March as part of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The scheme will allow the visitor to make regular visits as measures begin to loosen across the country. Every resident will have the opportunity to name one individual who will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test before entry and wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.
Visitors will be asked to follow all infection prevention and control measures including avoiding close contact i.e., hugging or kissing their relatives, though handholding will be permitted.
In addition to this new rule, outdoor visits as well as those inside pods and behind screens will be able to continue in line with the published guidance. This will give residents the chance to be visited by more than just their nominated visitor.
This rule change comes after the government met its target to offer all care home residents, as well as social care and NHS staff, a vaccine by the 15th of February.
The Department of Health has stated the relaxation of the restrictions represents a balance between the risk of infections and the importance of visiting for the physical and mental wellbeing of residents and their families.
Matt Hancock has named this as the “first step” in the government’s desperate attempt to safely reunite families that have been deeply affected and separated from their loved ones during the pandemic. The move comes as a result of every care home resident in the UK now having received their first dose of vaccination.
What does this mean for residents and their families?
News of relaxation has been welcomed by various care providers, families, and residents who can now envision a road towards fully resuming indoor visits and a sense of normality. Over the course of the pandemic, the government has been under scrutiny by charities and families for failing to grasp the appalling impact of the blanket visiting bans on the physical and mental health of care home residents. In the absence of regular contact with their loved ones, the ban took a severe emotional toll on residents leading many to stop drinking, eating, and overall losing their will to live despite the staff’s efforts to fill the void. For relatives that have been campaigning for increased visits and residents whose wellbeing depends on familiar contact, these new measures certainly offer a ray of hope.
- There will be discretion for care homes to allow more than one named visitor in exceptional circumstances.
- Home testing of single, named visitors will not be allowed during the start of the scheme but will be reviewed.
- The person nominated will remain unchanged while this rule is in place.
- Handholding is allowed but named visitors will be asked to avoid any closer contact.
- Vaccination is not mandatory and will not be a condition of visiting.
- In terms of visiting out, the rules and guidance will remain unchanged at this stage.
- Visiting will be suspended during local outbreaks in individual homes.
- Further guidance will be published before the launch of the single, named visitor scheme on 8 March.
reach24 is here to help!
Concerned about managing your staffing needs safely? Use reach24 to fill your rota gap and keep your home COVID-secure
You might also be interested in:
Are you following us on Linkedin?
Have you liked our page on Facebook?