More visitors and outside visits allowed as restrictions eased for care home residents
From next Monday care home residents will be able to have more named visitors and more opportunities to make visits out with no need to self-isolate when they return.
Care home residents will be allowed five named visitors from Monday 17 May, up the current restriction of two.
As part of step 3 of the roadmap, the number of named family members or friends able to visit their loved ones in care homes will be increased as visiting restrictions continue to ease. A maximum of two visitors will be allowed at any one time or on any given day.
The announcement follows a reduction in COVID-19 cases and the ongoing successful vaccine rollout with 95% of older care home residents receiving their first jab.
Self-isolation no longer required following visits to GPs, dentists and day centres, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has said.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately said the restrictions currently in place had been “difficult” for care home residents.
“The new guidance allows more family and friends to reunite and reduces the need to self-isolate, which I know many have found incredibly challenging. As we turn the tide on this cruel virus I want to make visiting as normal as possible by the summer, and this is an important step on that path,” Whately said.
The period when a COVID-19 outbreak in a care home can be declared over will also change from 28 days to 14 days after the last positive case assuming there are no Variants of Concern (VOCs) identified.
This means visits can resume sooner following an outbreak, once the relevant testing has been completed and provided all staff and residents tested receive a negative result.
Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Professor Deborah Sturdy welcomed the news.
“The pandemic has been so difficult for those living in care homes and our social care workforce have done a brilliant job of keeping their residents safe and supported. I know this change to the guidance will be a huge boost to so many, giving more people the chance to reunite with more of their friends and family.”
Chair of the Social Care COVID-19 Taskforce, Sir David Pearson said the easing of restrictions was possible thanks to the social care workforce.
“This is a significant step on the road to normality for so many. We are only able to increase visits in and out of care homes thanks to the hard work of social care staff maintaining good infection prevention and control, and the effect of the vaccines in driving down transmission.”
The government announced an interim change in guidance last week to allow low-risk outdoor visits out, such as a trip to the park, a garden or the beach, without the need to isolate afterwards.
Visits out of the care home will be planned in consultation with the family and care home managers, subject to testing requirements and risk assessments to protect residents.
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