Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care homes guidance

Guidance on visiting during the pandemic plus tools and resources on visiting, and supporting residents in homes with COVID-19.

24 Feb 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care homes guidance

Visiting guidance

We have published new guidance, Open with Care: supporting meaningful contact in care homes, which supports meaningful contact to resume between care home residents and their loved ones, from early March 2021.

The guidance recommends that care homes can now resume indoor visiting for up to two visits per resident per week (and up to two designated visitors). One person should visit at a time. Care homes will first need to make arrangements to do this and meet a set of safety conditions.

This guidance sets out how indoor contact in care homes will gradually increase while minimising COVID-19 risks to residents, staff and visitors. It has been developed with input from relatives of care home residents, care home providers and others.

Visiting professionals into care homes and communal activities

On 14 April, we published updated advice on the a phased return of professional visits to care homes. This includes advice on visits by health and social care professionals, holistic and spiritual care professionals, and others – such as site contractors, maintenance and health and safety personnel. The advice is aligned to the Strategic Framework levels, and can be found under 'Open with Care documents' below.

This is now possible as we have multiple levels of protection in place, including:

  • testing policy prior to hospital discharge
  • testing policy for community admission
  • community transmission levels
  • effective IPC
  • PPE (adequate, available and proper used)
  • testing (all staff, others, designated visitors)
  • the vaccine

For all care homes, regardless of outbreak status, essential visits should be generously supported where possible to do so safely, without a defined time limit.

Additional information on Open with Care and COVID-19 for residents, family and friends can be found on NHS Inform.

Guidance for care homes

There are two main sets of guidance for care homes, focussed on resuming:

  • regular, meaningful contact with friends and family
  • visits into the home by volunteers, spiritual/faith representatives and professionals plus wellbeing activities

Infographics, videos and transcripts

Infographics, videos and accompanying transcripts have also been produced to help support residents in care homes with COVID-19, as well as visiting as safely as possible. 


Open with Care documents

Open with Care workshop slides

17 page PDF
1.0 MB

Visiting guidance documents

Infographics and resources

Archived documents

About this guidance

The guidance has been produced by the Care Homes Clinical and Professional Advisory Group (CPAG), a 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.

Previous Scottish Government Care Home Guidance has been archived, please contact for any archived requests.




First published: 24 Feb 2021 Last updated: 19 Apr 2021 -