Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care homes visiting guidance

Guidance for care homes on phasing in the re-introduction of visiting.

12 Oct 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care homes visiting guidance

This guidance sets out how care home visiting may be gradually increased while minimising the risks to residents, staff and visitors.

There are two main sets of guidance:

  • to support care homes with restoring visiting by friends and family
  • resuming wellbeing activities and visits by professionals

The guidance recommends care homes takes a staged approach, where stage 1 – essential visits only - has been in operation throughout the pandemic.

Guidance for family and friends sets out how relaxation of visiting restrictions should take place in three further stages, moving through outdoor visiting, to indoor visiting, and eventually to a controlled programme of outdoor and indoor visiting. It sets out what precautions should be taken to safeguard resident, visitor and staff safety.

At a national level, each stage of easing of restrictions is assessed depending on scientific advice and the progress of the infection rates.  If risks are identified with this approach, restrictions may be resumed. Any home that has an ongoing outbreak should close to non-essential visitors.

From Monday 12 October care home residents will be able to have up to 6 outdoor visitors at one time from no more than 2 households. Indoor visiting to residents by designated individuals should also be possible once care homes have developed a plan to allow this to happen as safely as possible, and for up to four hoursEssential visits are recommended to be generously supported, without defined time limit, and where they will support the resident’s wellbeing. Visits by spiritual and faith representatives, hairdressers, pets and therapets, children and young people are also recommended to now be supported, as well as certain gifts and belongings being allowed into the home, with safety and IPC measures in place. 

We published guidance for professionals on 3 September. This also recommends a staged approach to the return of health, social care and other visiting professionals and services to adult care homes. The guidance also provides advice about residents leaving the care home for day and/or overnight visits, group/communal activities and about residential respite care during the pandemic.

About this guidance

The guidance has been produced by the Care Homes Clinical and Professional Advisory Group (CPAG), a short life multi-disciplinary group chaired by members of the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Nursing Officer directorates. The group has been established to provide clinical and professional advice throughout the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Care Homes CPAG will continue to review the guidance taking account of changes in the emerging picture around COVID-19.




First published: 12 Oct 2020 Last updated: 20 Oct 2020 -