Rules for visiting relatives and friends in care homes have been relaxed over the past few months across the UK. However, there are still measures in place to protect residents and stop the spread of Covid.
How many people can visit?
In England, care home residents can choose up to five people who can visit regularly.
No more than two people should visit at one time or in one day.
If a resident is not well enough to choose, care homes should talk with their family to decide on the arrangements.
Residents can also nominate someone as an “essential care giver”, who does not count in the daily visitor limit. This means they can visit even during coronavirus outbreaks, and be offered personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional testing.
Can residents leave the care home?
Guidance for care providers in England says residents can leave a home for social reasons. This includes overnight stays.
They do not need to self-isolate on their return unless they have had an overnight stay in hospital, or the visit is considered high risk.
What precautions do visitors have to take?
You don’t have to be vaccinated to visit a care home, although government guidance recommends that people take the jab when offered.
Nominated visitors need to take a lateral flow test organised by the home – this applies in England, Wales and Scotland.
These take about 30 minutes, and visitors need to wait for the result before seeing the resident.
If the visitor tests positive for coronavirus, they should return home and self-isolate.
Can I hug my relative?
Guidance in England advises that visitors and residents “keep physical contact to a minimum”, and says there should not be close physical contact such as hugging.
Hand-holding may be allowed, but people are reminded that “any contact increases the risk of transmission”.
Ideally, visitors should keep a 2m (6ft) distance from residents.