Elderly and disabled people in care and nursing homes to see loved ones again as visits restart
The government has confirmed that care home and nursing home residents in England will be able to see friends and families face-to-face again for the first time in almost four months.
The announcement comes as new guidance published yesterday outlines how registered residential care homes, as well as nursing homes for people with disabilities, can resume visits safely.
Local directors of public health, with their local authorities, will have the final say on when visits can take place, with the government stating that directors will be expected to take a measured, risk-assessed approach. This will include considering the situation in specific care homes, as well as the community context including any local outbreaks.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “I know how painful it has been for those in care homes not being able to receive visits from their loved ones throughout this period.
“We are now able to carefully and safely allow visits to care homes, which will be based on local knowledge and circumstances for each care home.”
Once a provider has been deemed safe to recommence visitation, care home providers and visitors will be required to follow new guidelines designed to prevent transmission of the disease.
In particular, the government advice recommends that where visits do go ahead, it should be limited to a single constant visitor per resident, wherever possible, to limit the number of interactions with different people.
Additionally, the guidance recommends that all visitors should be encouraged by providers to wear face coverings and regularly wash hands after putting their masks on and taking them off.
“It is really important that we don’t undo all of the hard work of care homes over the last few months while ensuring families and friends can be safely reunited so we have put in place guidance that protects everyone,” added the Secretary of State.
The government advice also instructs visitors to wear appropriate further PPE depending on the need of their visit, potentially including aprons and gloves, as well as maintaining social distance.
Where possible, providers will also be asked to consider if visits can take place in a communal garden or outdoor area, which can be accessed without visitors going through a shared building.
Lisa Lenton, Chair of the Care Providers Alliance, commented: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll in many ways. The effect of not being able to see friends and family has been very difficult and very upsetting for many – both for the people who access care and support, and for their loved ones who have been isolated.
“The Care Provider Alliance welcomes this overdue guidance – the CPA has been calling for government guidance for many weeks and released its own visitors’ protocol last month in its absence. People need people and this is such an important step for the wellbeing of individuals and their relatives.”
The guidance also notes that ad hoc visits should not be permitted and every visitors’ contact details be collected for NHS Test and Trace purposes.
In addition, the government directs visitors wishing to bring gifts to ensure the present can be easily cleaned, stating: “It is unlikely that they will be able to bring flowers but a box of chocolates that could be sanitised with wipes would be allowed.”
Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs for the National Autistic Society, finished: “Thousands of autistic people in residential care haven’t been able to see their families in months. Many will have found it very difficult to understand why their parents, siblings and other relatives have stopped coming to see them. Today’s news will come as a huge relief for many families across England who have been apart from their children and loved ones for far too long.
“It’s vital that local decision-makers now work with care homes to make visits possible, while ensuring everyone is kept safe, to finally reunite thousands of autistic people with their families.”https://thiis.co.uk/elderly-and-disabled-people-in-care-and-nursing-homes-to-see-loved-ones-again-as-visits-restart/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/care-nursing-home-visits.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/care-nursing-home-visits.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Coronavirus NewsCOVID-19 Sector NewsGovernment & Local AuthoritiesNewsroomSector Newscare homes,Care Providers Alliance,coronavirus,COVID-19,directors of public health,Government,guidance,Matt Hancock,National Autistic Society,nursing homes,PPE,residential homes,social distancing,visitsThe government has confirmed that care home and nursing home residents in England will be able to see friends and families face-to-face again for the first time in almost four months.The announcement comes as new guidance published yesterday outlines how registered residential care homes, as well as nursing homes...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine