Care Home Visiting COVID regulations updated Feb 2022

Providing Care
5 min read

The Government has announced updates to its procedures for visiting care homes in England. The changes make visiting more possible and signify steps to try and normalise life of residents despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Visiting is an integral part of home life and essential for maintaining the mental health, wellbeing and social contact of residents. Families and friends also gain a huge amount from maintaining their lifelong relationships with those dear to them. For this reason, where possible, care homes have been encouraged to support visits where they can take place in a way that manages the risks of covid.

Throughout the pandemic visiting has remained under close review. Individuals living in care homes are typically more vulnerable to illness and complications resulting from an illness, especially Coronavirus. It is for this reason that early in the course of the pandemic the Government introduced and maintained visiting restrictions for Care Homes in England.

Guidelines for visiting Care Homes were updated by the Government on the 31st of Jan 2022. In conjunction with the Care Quality Commission, the regulator of care home in England, the Department for Health and Social Care DHSC, has deemed the following precautions as essential to safe visiting:

All visitors will be required to follow the procedures laid out by the care home, these procedures will be in line with CQC guidance and ensure the homes compliance with CQC inspection standards. The procedures of the Care Home should be visible for all visitors on entering the Home.

Care Homes should remind visitors that following Infection Prevention Control, IPC, measures including wearing PPE, are important, but this must be done so in conjunction with a negative test result and proof of vaccination

Visitors should be supported to correctly use PPE that is made available on site – Care Homes are being supplied with PPE to support visitors. This will also include providing facilities for visitors to follow good hand hygiene practices

There is a chance still that a care home may experience an outbreak of covid amongst its staff or residents. The updated guidance makes allowance for such circumstances. Steps include immediately undertaking a risk assessment and restricting all non-essential visitors to minimise the impact and risk to residents and staff. However, in tune with the positive statements about the benefits of maintaining social relationships the guidance offers the following suggestions as to how contact can be maintained between Care Home residents and their loved ones:

Although these measures, in the event of a breakout are not as gratifying as meeting in person, they will only be temporary and once the outbreak is declared to be over visitations can recommence.

Access to government guidance can be found via this link: care homes during coronavirus policy update