October 24, 2020

Coronavirus: Care home visits to resume in England

People holding hands Image copyright Reuters

Families and friends can start to be reunited with their loved ones in care homes in England, the government has said as it publishes new guidance.

Until now, visits were limited and dependent on local infection rates and the individual care home.

Visits will resume in specific care homes once local public health directors and local authorities decide it is safe.

Risk assessments will be undergone prior to homes being reopened.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know how painful it has been for those in care homes not being able to receive visits from their loved ones throughout this period.

“We are now able to carefully and safely allow visits to care homes, which will be based on local knowledge and circumstances for each care home.”

New guidance, published on the government’s website, says where visits do go ahead, they should be “limited to a single constant visitor, per resident, wherever possible.”

Care home providers should also consider whether visits could take place outside, without visitors having to go through a shared building, the guidance says.

Visitors should also be encouraged to wear a face covering and to wash their hands thoroughly before putting it on and after taking it off.