- 3 Sep 2020
This guidance sets out how care home visiting may be re-introduced while minimising the risks to residents, staff and visitors.
There are two sets of guidance to support care homes with restoring visiting by friends and family, as well as 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.
The family and friends care home visiting guidance sets out how relaxation of visiting restrictions should take place in three further stages, moving through outdoor visiting, indoor visiting by one designated person 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 10 August care home residents will be able to have up to 3 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.
The enhancing wellbeing visits and activities guidance 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.
The types of services covered by the guidance include:
- health and social care professionals
- holistic and spiritual volunteers and professionals
- site-support, including contractors and maintenance (both in-house and external contractors).
The recommendation is that, from 7th September, non-essential services should be able to resume visiting residents in care homes, provided relevant risk assessments have been undertaken by care homes and approved by the local Director of Public Health (or delegated representative).
Recognising the hugely important role of social contact within care homes, the guidance also sets out recommended actions for the safe resumption of communal and group activities, which should restart on or after 7th September (on approval of risk assessments by local Director of Public Health or delegated representative).
Recommended arrangements to safely resume respite care are also outlined, to support family and unpaid carers to have valuable breaks.
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.