Updated Care Home Visits Guidance Dec 2021

With the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant, TrustedCare's Care Advisers have noticed an increase in care seeker queries about Covid-19 guidance in care homes.

The new government guidance states that from 15 December 2021, they "expect and encourage [care] providers to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way". They understand that visiting is an 'integral' part of care home life and that it is essential for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life for residents and their family members.

Read on to find out the key takeaways from the updated government guidance surrounding care home visits and what it means for resident's and their families.

Key points for visitors:

  • Care home residents can nominate up to 3 visitors who can enter the care home for regular visits (excluding essential caregivers and preschool-age children).
  • All visits should be pre-booked in advance with the care home
  • The duration of visits should not be limited if safe visiting practises can be maintained
  • Visits are to take place in a room that is practical and comfortable for the resident
  • Visitors should receive a negative lateral flow test result and report it on the day of their visit. The test can be conducted at home or when they arrive at the care home.
  • Physical contact should be enabled to help health and wellbeing, as long as infection control measures are in place
  • Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell even if they have tested negative for Covid-19, are fully vaccinated and have had their booster.
  • Visitors who are not legally obligated to self-isolate should not visit a care home for 10 days if they have been identified as a close contact for someone who has Covid-19 unless absolutely necessary. If a visit does happen in this situation, visitors should have a negative PCR test result prior to their visit and a negative lateral flow test result on the day of their visit.

In the case of an outbreak:

  • All residents should be supported to have an identified essential caregiver who may visit to offer companionship or support with care requirements. Essential caregivers can also visit during a Covid-19 outbreak.
  • During an outbreak of Covid-19, care providers should continue to offer visits in well-ventilated areas with substantial screens, visiting pods or from behind windows.
  • Subject to a risk assessment by the health protection team (HPT), outbreak controls may be in place for up to 28 days following the last positive case.

Resident outings:

  • Residents should be supported to undertake visits outside of the care home as appropriate. If they have received at least 2 vaccines or are exempt, they should not have to isolate upon returning to the care home providing the follow the testing regime. If they have not had at least 2 vaccines, they should isolate for 14 days following their outing.
  • Residents should isolate following emergency hospital stays, if they test positive for Covid-19 or following a high-risk visit

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