Care home providers are being told to find a balance between wellbeing and the risk of transmission.
Social distancing and adequate personal protective equipment will allow families to visit relatives in care homes, according to new guidance.
New guidance published just hours before the second national lockdown enables care home providers, families and local professionals to find the right balance between the benefits of visiting on wellbeing and quality of life, and the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to social care staff and vulnerable residents.
The guidance sets out clear principles on how visits should be conducted reiterating the importance of ensuring social distancing and proper PPE use is observed.
Suggestions include Covid-secure visiting areas or pods, visiting through windows or bringing residents outdoors to see family in their car and outdoor visits.
The document also suggests that video calls should be used where other options are not available and in “exceptional circumstances”, such as for end of life care, relatives should be permitted inside.
Bringing loved ones back together.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately announcing the measures said; “I know how incredibly hard visiting restrictions have been for families, friends and residents in care homes.
“There is no escaping the pain and the very real consequences of being separated for such a long period of time. The accounts I have heard personally are truly heart-breaking, especially where care homes have been unable to reopen for visiting during the summer.
“I am determined to bring loved ones back together even during this second wave of the pandemic; that’s why I am advising care homes to enable Covid-secure visits across the country.
“We are also working to trial testing for visitors, so that we can reduce the risk of indoor visits and give families more opportunities to spend time with relatives in care homes.
“We must get the balance right between reuniting families and ensuring care staff and residents are safe from COVID-19.”