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
Routine visiting

Routine visiting

Visitors per resident and in the care home

In line with advice of 19 July 2021 supporting the move to Level 0 and reiterating that residents’ contact with loved ones should continue to increase, continuing to use ‘designated visitors’ is not now recommended as necessary. Care homes and loved ones should collaborate to support contact in line with resident wishes and practical considerations, informed by local risk assessment and support from Oversight teams as necessary.

The total number of visitors that the home can support at one time is not limited, as long as staff can support with the practical elements of supporting this safely, e.g. welcoming and testing.

Children and young people

Children and young people can visit indoors or outdoors. Children under 12 should be included in any group size limits. This includes essential visits, where desired. During essential visits, children and young people should follow advice from the care home on infection prevention and control and personal protective equipment.

Organised groups of children and young people (for example community groups/choirs) are not currently recommended to attend care homes due to the higher risk of infection from groups of unvaccinated people. Further advice is to follow for August.

Visiting professionals and volunteers (e.g. GPs, dentists hairdressers, pastors)

Read the updated advice on visiting by health and social care, and other professionals, published on 14 April 2021.

Pets visiting the home

Visitors may bring their pets for indoor and outdoor visits. Hand hygiene should be observed.

Visits during residents' isolation period

If a resident needs to isolate, visitors would not normally be considered in this period.

However, a person-centred approach is recommended taking account of individual circumstances and needs. Essential visits should be supported in this period generously and sympathetically if they are needed, recognising that the resident will be in an unfamiliar setting and there may be instances where contact with loved ones may be needed, e.g. to alleviate distress.

Residents who don't have visitors

There will be people who do not routinely receive visitors either because their family / friends are not close by or they do not have anyone.

It will be important for care homes, working with local partners, to consider how best to support meaningful contact for those for whom it may be beneficial. There are a range of ways this can be supported from school children sending cards through to visits from befrienders / volunteers who can visit. From Level 0, increases to community in-reach and activities connecting people are encouraged.