When Will Care Homes Reopen For Visitors?

When Will Care Homes Reopen For Visitors?

Posted by Declan Davey

When Will Care Homes Reopen For Visitors?

New guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care states that care homes will reopen for visitors again.

After months of waiting, this update is welcome news for families and friends of care home residents.

Care homes reopen for Visits

Released on 22 July, the guidance states in clearer terms when care homes will allow visitors. 

You can visit the gov.uk website to view the full document. 

But for those who want a shorter read, we'll summarise the key updates in this article.

When Will Care Homes Allow Visitors Again?

The absence of guidelines for when care homes will reopen to visitors has been felt across the country.

Outdoor, socially-distanced visits were allowed by some homes in June. 

But the lack of consistency led to public confusion. Care providers followed different protocols for permitting visits.

Updated guidance from the government will let more care home visits take place in the coming weeks.

The UK’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that care homes can allow visitors again. The plan is for this to be done "carefully and safely." 

Hancock went on to say that decision to reopen will be based on "local knowledge and circumstances for each care home."

Here are 5 key takeaways from the Department of Health and Social Care guide:

  • Visit considerations are led by the relevant local director of public health. They will complete “regular professional assessments.”
  • Only a “single constant visitor” is allowed to visit the care home resident.
  • Policies for when care homes will allow visitors should be outlined by each home to both residents and residents’ families.
  • Permissions for visits are due to update on an ongoing basis, in line with infection and growth rates in the local area.
  • Care home visits should be restricted if there is a new infection outbreak or evidence of local community hotspots.

Professor Martin Green — the Chief Executive of Care England — is not pleased with the speed of governmental response. 

"This guidance should have been with care providers last month. We are at a loss to understand why the Department of Health and Social Care cannot act quickly in a crisis."

Professor Martin Green

Care England worries that a list of key issues remain unclear for when care homes reopen to visitors. 

The issues they mention are:

  • Insufficient information about Local Outbreak Boards
  • Lack of information on how dynamic risk assessments affect visit frequency
  • Ratios of support staff
  • Supported living
  • Volunteer access

What’s clear is that the Covid-19 pandemic is testing care providers’ trust in the government. 

With strong opinions on both sides, you may well be thinking “is it going to be safe for me to visit my loved one?”

For more information, read the section below.

Are Care Homes Safe Now?

This is a common concern at the moment for family and friends of care home residents.

An extra £600 million of funding for UK care homes was announced in May 2020. 

But relatives who are wondering when care home restrictions will be lifted want to know whether visits are likely to be safe.

This is why the team at Autumna have set up the S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment For Everyone) initaitve and Virtual Visit booking buttons as display options for the care providers that list on the site.

S.A.F.E. aims to identify care homes that follow the correct guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Infection control icon and virtual visit icons

The idea behind S.A.F.E. is that we use validated information from third parties to gather data, which we share with you on our website

Families are keen to know what protocols are in place to minimise risk as care homes allow visitors again.

The good news is that you can create a customised search for S.A.F.E. approved care homes

Enter your location using the search bar on the Autumna homepage.

The results will appear. 

Click the orange “Additional Filters” button.

From there, you can scroll down to select “Infection Control (S.A.F.E.).” 

Filters applied to an Autumna care home search

The search results will refresh and show you the care homes that have shared their CQC Covid-19 summary reports with us.

The same holds true for Virtual Visits. Care homes that offer virtual visits are demonstrating to prospective residents that they take the safety of their existing residents very seriously.

Contact Us For More Information

If you want to stay up to date on the latest news about when care homes will reopen,you can contact us.

Clearer information means that families can make better choices. 

Our mission at Autumna is to help people live well in later life and find the best options for care. 

Here are our details if you wish to get in touch:

Telephone: 01892 335 330

Email: info@autumna.co.uk

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Our thanks to Declan Davey for his help researching and writing this blog.

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