From June 21, in England new residents can move into care homes from the community without isolating, subject to enhanced PCR testing.
Existing residents can also stay overnight without quarantining on their return although visits to a high risk environment or a return from a hospital or move from another care home will still require a 14-day isolation.
Currently residents can only leave the care home for a visit if outdoors or for high-priority reasons, such as a dental or GP appointment.
Enhanced PCR testing comprises a PCR test before admission, on admission and seven days later.
In the latest move towards reopening care homes, the government has also strengthened the role of the ‘essential care giver’, which means every resident should be able to nominate a friend or family member to provide extra care on their visits.
Essential care givers can continue to visit during outbreaks and during isolation, and they should have access to the same PPE and testing supply as care home workers.
Updated guidance will be published in due course. Care homes will need to conduct individual risk assessments to ensure visits out are not high risk. This will take into account the number of nights the resident plans to stay out of the home, and their mode of transport, as well as vaccination and infection levels in the community and the home.
Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum, said: “These are all positive steps towards the full levels of freedom. However, as ever, the implementation of this new guidance does not come without a cost. It must not be forgotten that on 30 June all additional funding allocated to cover costs associated with infection prevention and control comes to an end. Care providers desperately need future funding confirmed.”