Covid restrictions eased for care home residents
Care home residents will be able to spend more time with family and friends - including overnight stays - as part of government easing of Covid restrictions.
At present, residents can only leave the care home for a visit if outdoors or for high-priority reasons, such as a dental or GP appointment, but will now be able to leave the home for more social reasons without having to isolate.
From 21 June, people admitted to a care home from the community will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, so residents will have a less disruptive introduction to their new home.
Residents will be required to undergo an enhanced testing regime - a PCR test before admission, a PCR test on the day of admission and a further PCR test seven days later.
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.
In addition, Essential Care Givers can continue to visit during outbreaks.
However, care home residents are still required to isolate for 14 days following a visit out that would be deemed high risk through a risk assessment or after an overnight stay at hospital.
If a person is admitted from a hospital or another care home they must also self-isolate.
"I have heard first-hand from those living and working in care homes how difficult the restrictions around visiting have been and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone working in the sector who has helped reunite families safely,” said care minister Helen Whately.
“Thanks to the continued success of the vaccine rollout, I am pleased we can now take another step towards normality, helping more people enjoy visits out of the care home while protecting them from the continued risk of Covid-19,” she added.
Care groups welcomed the measures but said the implementation of the latest guidance is not without cost to providers.
“It must not be forgotten that on 30 June all additional funding allocated to cover costs associated with Infection Prevention and Control, the management and support of visiting and enhanced testing comes to an end,” said National Care Forum chief executive Vic Rayner.
“Care providers desperately need future funding confirmed to ensure they can continue to pay staff to isolate effectively, to increase their capacity to facilitate and administer enhanced testing for those admitted to care homes, or visiting out of care homes, and enhanced visiting capacity and testing for greater numbers of essential care givers,” she added.