Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Open with Care: advice on practicalities

Published: 15 Jul 2021

Supplementary information including answers to practical questions and concerns resulting from Open with Care: supporting meaningful contact and activities in and away from care homes.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Open with Care: advice on practicalities


Normalising and embedding residents' contact and activities

Open with care has been in place since February 2021. We would now expect most care homes to be approaching normal  levels of contact between residents and people coming to see them. Increases to the frequency, duration and number of indoor contacts are not dependent on further national announcements.

Some care homes may have to pause indoor visiting or outings away on a very temporary basis – for example if there is an outbreak, or concerns have been raised about compliance with infection prevention and control measures. But generally the presumption should be that visiting and outings should be supported.

Covid protection levels, contact and activities in and away from the care home

Under the Strategic Framework, each local council has a protection level. There are different restrictions for each level. From February 2021, contact between care home residents and loved ones inside care homes will not usually be tied to the local level. Travel and activity outside care homes is tied to the regulations.

Travel into and out of Levels 3 and 4 to see a loved one living in a care home is classed as essential travel. This travel is exempt from coronavirus travel restrictions.

In some settings outside of the home, restrictions on physical distance will be different than in the care home.

Essential visits should always continue. Garden and window visits are also likely to always be supported.

Read more about coronavirus protection levels.

Read more about Level 0 guidance for care homes.

The intention is that, subject to conditions being met, Scotland moves away from Levels system in August 2021. Further advice for care homes is to follow on supporting residents’ to have more meaningful lives in and away from the care home beyond Level 0 when many of the restrictions will no longer apply.

Essential visits

We want to reiterate that essential visits should always be supported alongside and in addition to regular visits. They are not just for end of life situation and should be facilitated generously and compassionately. They should not be time limited or limited to one visitor, and should always allow touch and meaningful contact. Children under 16 should also be considered for essential visits.