Posted by Rachel Bashford
This guide will give you the latest care home information so that you have access to current rules.
Keep reading for updates on:
It is clear that during the pandemic, care home residents and their loved ones have dealt with very tough restrictions.
For many, these have been difficult times, without the ability to touch and talk to loved ones properly.
The rules are changing in all four nations of the UK. You will probably want to check the rules related to where you live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland here.
The great news is that care homes are cautiously relaxing some restrictions to make things easier for residents and their families. This change has been welcomed across the sector as concern over wellbeing and residents’ loneliness has increased.
The government has published guidance on 12th April 2021(updated on 10th May), that has changed how homes can proceed with welcoming visitors from 17thMay.
This blog will cover all of the most important points. If you want to read the full document for England, you can find it here.
The Latest Guidance for English Care Home Visits
Wondering what your care home visit will be like?
It is a good idea to ask your particular care home for their specific plans and procedures, as every home will have their own way of doing things.
Generally, you can expect the following guidance from the government to be in place:
What to Expect from Indoor Visits in England
Many care homes will have their guidance in place as to how they want visitors to enter their home and interact with others during their visit.
You will find most follow the advice set out by the Department for Health in the majority of care settings.
Here are the main points for you to keep in mind for your visit:
This may all sound a little daunting at first, but it’s good to keep in mind that this is all about keeping your loved one safe and protecting others, along with yourself.
It helps to note that this is temporary and these measures won’t be in place for ever. The government has indicated that advice may change over the summer.
Outdoor Visits are Encouraged
Residents will have more freedom in outdoor settings from 17th May. There is a variety of locations that can be used for outside visits. The government wants visitors to take residents outside for walks and in parks or gardens for get togethers.
Outside is viewed as better for everyone because of fresh air reducing the chance of virus transmission. Plus, it gives residents an opportunity to get some much-needed sunlight which has been really missing from their lives over the last year.
The government has said it wants social distancing measures and PPE, such as masks, to be in place during outside visits.
Pod or screened visits (see below) are still popular as they are seen as safe and useful for residents who can’t walk or travel very far. They are also good for people who are vulnerable or under the weather.
From 17th May, care home residents can make low-risk visits out of their home. This may be to the homes of their named visitors and close family without the need to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
They can also attend medical appointments, workplaces, educational settings and day courses without self-isolating.
This follows a dramatic reduction of Covid infections and with 95% of care home residents having received their first jab.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately said:
“The new guidance allows more family and friends to reunite and reduces the need to self-isolate, which I know many have found incredibly challenging. As we turn the tide on this cruel virus, I want to make visiting as normal as possible by the summer, and this is an important step on that path.”
You can view the most recent guidance here.
Testing for Visitors
If you are arranging a care home visit, you will be asked to complete a lateral flow test on the same day as your visit.
Most care homes have a testing system in place so that they can be sure of the result and to make visiting easier.
However, the government has stated that you can complete a lateral flow test either at home or at an approved testing site on the same day as your visit, as long as the care home has evidence of the negative result.
This evidence should be:
The diagram below shows you how the tests are administered, if you have not been through the process already.
Safety of Visits for Everyone
The vaccination programme rollout has been such a success that many of the restrictions are being eased with a cautious level of confidence that safety for all can hopefully be achieved.
The latest vaccination figures show a greater proportion are now receiving second doses to fully protect them from the virus.
Friends and family will undoubtedly feel very relieved to see the strong second vaccination statistics in older age groups.
This means that as more and more vulnerable people receive virus protection, infection rates will reduce and rules will be relaxed further.
Good news for everyone who lives or works in a care home, or has a loved one in this situation.
Need to Talk?
Even with the easing of restrictions, things can still be tough for care home residents and their loved ones.
We hope you’re staying as safe as possible.
We’re available to speak from Monday to Sunday (8:30am - 5:30pm Mon-Fri, 10am - 5pm Sat, 10am - 4pm Sun).
Email is another option, too. You can reach out on: email@example.com
Take care, from the team at Autumna
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