Care home residents will be allowed regular visits from a nominated individual from today (March 8).
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said every care home resident will be able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits.
These visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. There should not be close physical contact such as hugging
Health bosses said it is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and residents take up the opportunity to be vaccinated when they are invited to do so through the national programme.
DHSC said residents with the highest care needs will also be able to nominate an essential caregiver. Care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows
Kathryn Smith, chief executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, welcomed the news but warned that vaccinations and testing must continue.
She said: ‘It’s going to be an emotional day for residents, relatives and staff as nominated visitors are allowed into care homes.
‘For some, they haven’t seen their loved ones for a year. Of course, it’s important that testing, PPE and vaccinations continue at pace.
‘For today though, let’s just take a moment to celebrate that people are to be re-united, in a limited way, but in a way that provides hope for care homes for the near and long-term future.’
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