Regular family visits a possibility as care home visitor testing scheme planned

By Bethany Hemsley

Family members of care home residents could be treated as key workers and have weekly testing in a pilot scheme announced by Social Care Minister Helen Whately.

This would enable relatives or friends to be given frequent access to the home, however, they would be required to follow the same infection control rules as staff, such as regular testing and wearing PPE.

Helen Whately
Helen Whately

Helen Whately said: “I am planning to launch a pilot shortly. I can’t give you a date but I can say we are moving forward with it.

“Visiting is incredibly important for residents and their families in care homes. I really want us to enable visiting but it has to be safe.”

The pilot scheme aims to reduce the loneliness and isolation suffered by many residents during the pandemic, but the safety of staff and residents remains the priority.

Operators will be expected to decide their own policies using the advice of local public health officials and risk assessments of visits on their individual home.  

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