News

Advice on visiting care homes and hospitals

Published: 17 Dec 2021 09:53

Visits to people in hospital and care homes to continue with additional measures of protection.

Visitors to hospitals and adult care homes are being asked to take an LFD test before every visit under new guidelines

Adult care homes and hospitals should continue to support visits for residents and patients, however new recommendations set out that visits should be in line with the rules for the general public brought in to control the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The guidance stresses that residents in adult care homes should continue to have opportunities to connect safely with their loved ones, if the protective measures to support safe visiting are maintained.

Under new guidelines no more than two households should meet with a resident at any one time inside the care home and residents are asked to avoid larger gatherings when visiting friends and family outwith the care home.

Staff testing has increased to daily and all visitors should test before every visit. As before named visitors can still be supported  to visit residents in care homes with a controlled COVID-19 outbreak if the local Health Protection Team has agreed this can happen. Essential visits in circumstances such as distress or end of life should be compassionately and generously supported at all times.

Hospital visiting must continue to be prioritised, with appropriate precautions and protections. These include asking all visitors to use an LFD test ahead of visiting, and for no more than two people to visit a patient at any one time, on wards where there is no current active outbreak. Where an active outbreak is being managed, hospitals should allow essential visits only.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“We are clear hospital visiting must continue, with appropriate precautions and protections in place. We are also mindful of the imminent Christmas period and what this means for patients, staff, visitors and communities. Our expectation is that every patient in hospital in Scotland over the Christmas and New Year holiday period should be able to benefit from the support of at least one visitor and, wherever it is safely possible, two.

“These additional measures, in recognition of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, are on top of existing infection prevention and control measures. As has always been the case, we expect protections such as hand hygiene, face coverings and distancing to continue to be maintained.

“The additional protective measures for adult care homes aim to balance the current Covid-19 risk and the need to keep people safe in line with clinical advice provided about the risks of Omicron variant of COVID-19 at this time. 

“Anyone who visits a hospital or care home should undertake an LFD test before every visit in order to keep patients and residents safe. However the additional measures in care homes and hospitals are based on the principle that, using all the protective measures, people living in care homes or being treated in hospitals should continue be supported to see and spend time with those important to them.

“It is vital that everyone works together to enable people to see each other in the lead up to and over the Christmas period so that everyone can spend time with one another safely and with confidence.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all health and social care staff who have worked tirelessly to enable people, whether patients or care home residents, to stay connected with their loved ones. Their contribution has been immense.”

Background note

Guidance to care homes:

Updated Guidance on visiting in care homes issued on 15 December is available here:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care homes guidance - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

As of 13 December, 93% of care homes are supporting indoor visiting, with 91% of these homes facilitating either daily or multiple visits

Updated guidance on hospital visiting is available at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): hospital visiting guidance - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)