Care home visits to be allowed throughout lockdown, government announces

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) gives guidance setting out measures that can be put in place to provide COVID-secure opportunities for visiting care homes in England in the second national lockdown period.

An announcement issued by the government says that maintaining opportunities for people to visit care homes is ‘critical for supporting the health and wellbeing of residents’.

The guidance states that care home providers, families and local professionals should ‘work together to find the right balance’ between the benefits of visiting on wellbeing, and the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to social care staff and vulnerable residents.

The guidance does, however, state that “providers are best placed to decide how to deliver visits in their own setting in a way that meets the needs of their residents individually and collectively,” adding that “the individual resident, their views, their needs and wellbeing are an important focus of decisions around visiting.”

Ultimately, though, it says that decisions should be reached through working with the resident, their family and friends and the provider and other relevant professionals (including social workers) where appropriate.

The guidance sets out measures that can be put in place to provide COVID-secure opportunities for families to meet using arrangements such as “substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits.”

The government says it will review its approach to care home visiting as national restrictions come to an end, saying that they are ‘exploring the options’ that testing will provide to enable further visits.

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