Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on the extended use of face masks and face coverings in hospitals, primary care, wider community care and adult care homes

Published: 9 Nov 2020
Last updated: 7 Jun 2021 - see all updates

Guidance on the extended use of face masks and face coverings by staff within acute hospitals, community hospitals, primary care and wider community care, together with advice for visitors to care homes and hospitals, including those attending for an appointment.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance on the extended use of face masks and face coverings in hospitals, primary care, wider community care and adult care homes
Guidance for adult care homes

Specific guidance for adult care homes

FRSMs must also be made available to all residents receiving direct care.

Residents in an adult care homes should wear a FRSM (unless exempt) when they are in communal spaces. Residents are not expected to wear a FRSM within their own living spaces such as bedrooms or personal toilets, unless they are receiving direct care or when they are unable to maintain 2 metre distancing. Residents should also wear a FRSM when being transferred or transported to hospital. Wearing of a FRSM within these settings may not always be possible and the guidance states: "if this can be tolerated and does not compromise care". Appropriate physical distancing and wider IPC measures are critical, with the use of FRSMs being a further line of defence.

It is recognised that some residents may require respite from wearing a FRSM for long periods of time.  If so, they should be supported to do so whilst remaining within their living space or when seated in a communal area and more than 2 metres from all other residents.  They should be encouraged to put on a new FRSM after a reasonable period of respite time.  This should be decided on an individual case-by-case basis.

Staff are encouraged to engage in a discussion with residents as early as possible to promote the importance of using FRSMs and adhering to other COVID-19 control measures in order to reduce the risk of transmission.


First published: 9 Nov 2020 Last updated: 7 Jun 2021 -