Covid-19 Government Update For Visiting in Care Homes
Communicating with family and others about the visiting policy and visiting decisions
Guidance for visits out of a care home, for example to a family home, is being considered and we will provide an update shortly.
To limit risk, where visits do go ahead, this should be limited to a single constant visitor, per resident,. This is in order to limit the overall numbers of visitors to the care home and the consequent risk of infection.
Care homes can now develop a policy for limited visits
The care home’s visiting policy should be made available and/or communicated to residents and families.
Essential visits only (for example, end of life), with no exceptions.
Limiting the numbers of visitors to a single constant visitor per resident. This, for example, means the same family member visiting each time to limit the number of different individuals coming into contact. This is in order to limit the overall number of visitors to the care home and/or to the individual, and the consequent risk of infection
Discussions with staff to address any anxieties
In the event of an outbreak, care homes may rapidly impose visiting restrictions to protect vulnerable
Even where in-person visits are permitted, alternatives to in-person visiting should be actively explored, facilitated and encouraged, such as the use of telephones or video
Ad hoc visits cannot be enabled
Record any visitors to a care home
Visitors should have no contact with other residents and minimal contact with care home staff (less than 15 minutes / 2 metres).
Visitors should be reminded and provided facilities to wash their hands for 20 seconds
Visitors should be supported to wear a face covering.
Visitors may need to wear PPE which goes beyond a face covering
A comprehensive risk assessment for each of these people identifying the specific risks for them and others should be undertaken for the person’s care.
Under no circumstances should this assessment be applied to a whole care setting
Copies of the guidance, procedures and protocols should at least be available to be read by visitors on arrival
A communal garden or outdoor area resident’s room, visitors should go there directly upon arrival and leave immediately after.
Visitors should be encouraged to keep personal interaction with the resident to a minimum. avoid skin-to-skin contact (handshake, hug)
Visitors any items they wish to bring with them on their visit, such as a gift. It will need to be something that can be easily cleaned by the care home to prevent cross contamination. For example, they will not be able to bring flowers but a box of chocolates that could be sanitised with wipes would be allowed
. Care home staff should try and prepare the resident for a visit.
Friends and family should be advised that their ability to visit care homes is still being controlled, is based on a dynamic risk assessment, and is subject to the specific circumstances of the care home and those living and working within it. This is likely to mean that the frequency of visits is limited and/or controlled.
It is recommended that the home has an arrangement to enable booking/appointments for visitors – ad hoc visits cannot be enabled. Also need to be informed of the change of arrangements and why this is necessary.
Family and friends should be advised that if there is a declared outbreak in a care home then the visiting guidance will need to be restricted for a period of time until the care home has been assessed to be in recovery.
If there is a restriction to visitors in place, alternative ways of communicating between residents and their families and friends should be discussed and offered. The care home should also provide regular updates to residents’ loved ones on their mental and physical health, how they are coping and identify any additional ways they might be better supported, including any cultural or religious needs.