Care homes in Scotland will be allowed to reintroduce family visits and communal activities for residents from next week.
The Scottish Government confirmed yesterday (25 June) that care home residents will be able to receive visitors outside from 3 July, provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place.
The guidance confirms that the next phase of visiting will include outdoor meetings with a single nominated visitor and that face coverings must be worn for the visit’s duration.
Currently, only essential visits, including those involving end of life care are permitted.
A care home will only be able to permit visiting or relax arrangements for communal activities if they have been COVID-free throughout the pandemic or if all affected residents have fully recovered and no residents have had symptoms for 28 days.
‘I fully appreciate that the necessary restrictions placed on care homes have been challenging for the people living in care homes, their loved ones, and the staff. Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes, and it is now important that we find safe ways for residents to reconnect with their families and friends,’ said Scottish health secretary, Jeane Freeman.
‘Significant progress is being made and we are continuing to see improvements with fewer care homes currently having an infection. On that basis, we can now see a phased return to visiting in care homes when and where it is clinically safe to do so.’
The news was welcomed by Age Scotland’s chief executive, Brian Sloan, who said: ‘This has been a long time coming and there will be a giant sigh of relief from residents and family members alike. The toll the lockdown has been having on the mental heath of care home residents and anxiety levels of their family cannot be underestimated. They are on our front line against this devastating virus and for them there has been no end in sight.
‘Of course, it is vitally important that visiting is reintroduced in compliance with strict guidelines to ensure the protection of staff and residents, but this announcement is a significant step towards regaining a sense of normality and will make all the difference to those in care homes who have been among the hardest hit by this crisis.’
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