Providers need guidance to ensure safety
Care providers today gave a cautious welcome to a Government promise that relatives will be able to visit their loved ones in care and nursing homes ‘within weeks’.
Influential care provider organisation The Independent Care Group (ICG) welcomed the pledge but called for greater Government guidance before more visiting begins.
Care Minister Helen Whately said she did not see why residents would have to wait for a second vaccine dose before being able to see their family and friends.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Residents and their families have been apart for too long and we want to see all visiting resume as soon as is safely possible. People have been amazingly patient, and we thank them for that.
“But before we open the doors, we have to be sure we can do so safely. We need proper guidance on whether it is safe to allow proper visits when our residents might only have had one vaccine dose.
“And we need clarity on what form this visiting can take, whether it can include physical contact, or still include PPE and what safety measures will still need to be in place.
“Personally, I think we need to approach it cautiously, with a phased approach.
“Care providers more than anyone know the impact the lockdown has had on the happiness and mental wellbeing of both our residents and their families, and they more than anyone want visiting to be stepped up.
“But we have also to remember that these are very vulnerable people and Covid-19 has claimed the lives of more than 28,000 of them in the past year, so we must proceed with extreme caution.”