DHSC has published guidance for safe visiting in care homes in England of two visitors from Monday 12 April. This sets out England’s two-visitor policy, which is as follows:
- Every care home resident can nominate up to two named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits (either together or separately)
- Visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
- Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum. Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands, but should avoid physical contact such as hugging
- In addition to their two named visitors, residents with higher care needs can also choose to nominate an essential care giver
- Outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows should continue for all other visitors
- England’s two-visitor policy is not dependent on either the resident or visitor being vaccinated against COVID-19.
DHSC makes clear that care home managers should feel empowered to exercise their judgement when developing practical arrangements or advice so that visiting can take place smoothly and comfortably for everyone in the care home.
There is also guidance for visitors.
The DHSC has said that by summer, care home visiting should be as “relaxed and normal as possible”. Further changes to visiting policy may take place from Monday 17 May 2021.
- DHSC has also updated guidance for PPE use in care homes: it has introduced recommendations to change PPE after each episode of personal care, and new recommendations around use of eye protection when delivering personal care within two metres