Care home residents in Scotland will be able to receive more outdoor visitors from today (10 August), Scottish ministers have announced.
From today, residents will be able to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place.
A care home will only be able to permit visiting if they have been COVID-free throughout the pandemic, or if all affected residents have fully recovered and no residents, or staff have had symptoms for 28 days and the home is actively participating in weekly staff testing.
Visitors will need to wear face coverings throughout their visit and physical distancing and hand and cough hygiene will need to be adhered to at all times.
Care home providers in Scotland have also been asked to develop plans on how they can safely allow one designated indoor visitor for residents within their homes.
These plans must be submitted by 24 August and will be signed off by the relevant health board’s director of public health once they are satisfied with the plan and the home meets all the criteria for indoor visiting.
‘This has been, and continues to be, a very challenging time for care home residents, their families and staff,’ said Scottish health minister, Jeane Freeman.
‘It is important that we continue to monitor this situation and that all changes within care homes happen incrementally and with real caution to protect residents and staff.
‘At this point in time clinical advice is not to restart indoor care home visiting, but to ensure the necessary plans are in place to move to this as soon as safe to do so. This is being continually monitored and I hope we can give a further update on this in the coming weeks,’ she added.
The chief executive of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill added: ‘The last few months have been exceptionally hard for folks in our care homes and for their families, being separated with only limited, often virtual, contact.
‘At the beginning of July we opened up care homes to outdoor visiting and I am very pleased that in our slow journey back to normal life we can shortly allow the careful start of a degree of indoor visiting subject to local sign off by public health officials. As well as this, it is positive that an increase in the numbers able to visit residents outdoors is now possible.’
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