The Government has now issued updated guidance to care homes as part of the “living with Covid” strategy. The new guidance recognises the importance of visits from friends and family and removes many of the remaining restrictions, which we very much welcome.
Visitors no longer need to book visits by appointment or take a LFD test before entering the home. Only visitors providing personal care need to test before visiting. There is no restriction on the number of visits, the number of visitors, the age of visitors or the time of visits, and Residents are free to leave the home for any purpose and generally do not have to test or isolate on return to the home.
Face masks must continue to be worn by visitors in communal areas of the home, but not in their relative’s bedroom, the visitors’ lounge or the private dining room. Visitors who are unwell should not enter the home even if they have tested negative for Covid and are fully vaccinated. We will continue to temperature test and ask visitors to self-certify they are free from symptoms on arrival during normal reception hours.
This guidance is set against the backdrop of widespread transmission in the community as well as care homes, and as you will be aware if an “outbreak” is declared i.e. where there are two or more positive cases in a home, additional restrictions and requirements may have to be re-imposed following discussion with local Health Protection Teams.
In order to balance the interests of families wishing to participate in communal activities and use communal areas, against the restrictions that have to be imposed on residents and visitors if an outbreak occurs, we are continuing to keep group activities and the use of communal areas such as resident lounges and café’s exclusively for the use of residents. There is no restriction on outdoor individual or communal activities. The online booking system remains in place for family room and private dining room bookings, which remain time limited, allowing rooms to be cleaned between visits and fair use of these rooms.
Many thanks for your understanding and cooperation.