Care home residents to be allowed one visitor

Care home residents will be able to be visited indoors by a single, named individual from 8 March as part of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions.

The government says that the scheme will allow a single visitor to hold hands indoors with their relative or contact in a care home, and make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe.

Restrictions on visits have been in place during national lockdown to protect vulnerable residents. While coronavirus cases remain high, the number of infections is falling. The UK’s vaccination programme has seen every care home resident offered a jab, with almost 17 million vaccinations carried out in total.

Outdoor, pod and screen visits will be able to continue in line with the published guidance which has been in place during lockdown, meaning there will be chances for residents to see more than just the one person they nominate. All visitors will receive a lateral flow test and be required to follow all infection prevention and control measures.

Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “One of the hardest things during this pandemic has been seeing families desperate to be reunited with their loved ones kept apart and I absolutely want to bring them back together.

“Throughout this pandemic we have sought clinical guidance on how visits can be conducted safely. We had to restrict the majority of visiting when the new variant was discovered but we have done all we can to enable visits to continue in some form. That includes providing funding towards costs of screens and PPE. As we begin to open up we will move step by step to increase visits while remembering we are still in the grip of a global pandemic.”