Care home residents will be able to spend more time with family and friends, including overnight stays, as part of an easing of visiting restrictions announced today by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
At Present, residents can only leave the care home for a visit if outdoors or for high-priority reasons, such as a dental or GP appointment, however, they will now be able to leave the home for more social reasons without having to isolate.
From 21st June, people admitted to a care home from the community will no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, so residents will have a less disruptive introduction to their new home.
To ensure this happens safely, residents will undergo an enhanced testing regime – a PCR test before admission, a PCR test on the day of admission and a further PCR test seven days later.
The National Care Forum has welcomed the changes in the latest step to restore care home visits to as close as normal as possible. visiting arrangements.
Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum says: “The clear statement by government outlining that each and every care home resident should have access to an essential care giver is an important step in ensuring that all residents are supported by those who are most important to them through any further restrictions or outbreaks. The vital connection between residents and their loved ones has been broken for too long for many people, and this guidance will bring a sense of normality one step closer for those most impacted by this pandemic. In addition, the press release appears to outline a vital next step in terms of ensuring people can be admitted to care homes from their own home and we anticipate access the respite care that they need, without having to go through 14 days of isolation. This will have a huge impact on people who need care and their families.
“The pressure on carers and those needing care cannot be overstated. In recent months as people have begun to have freedoms returned, we were hearing more and more about people unable to take important decisions about when and how to access care because of the incredibly negative impact of isolation. Finally, we welcome the understanding that people in care homes are part of communities, and need to be able to take part in their wider family life by staying away overnight with family and friends and not having to isolate on return. These are all positive steps towards the full levels of freedom we hope that everyone in care homes will now be able to achieve in line with the wider population on the 19th July.
“However, as ever, the implementation of this new guidance does not come without a cost. The government must take action immediately to support these changes and ensure that everyone can benefit from the updates outlined. It must not be forgotten that on 30th June all additional funding allocated to cover costs associated with Infection Prevention and Control, the management and support of visiting and enhanced testing comes to an end. Care providers desperately need future funding confirmed to ensure they can continue to pay staff to isolate effectively, to increase their capacity to facilitate and administer enhanced testing for those admitted to care homes, or visiting out of care homes, and enhanced visiting capacity and testing for greater numbers of essential care givers. Hundreds of thousands of residents and their relatives require this key issue to be addressed urgently. As ever the detail is required, and at present we are still waiting to see the full guidance underpinning these arrangements.”