People will be able to visit loved ones in care homes

PUBLISHED: 17:33 22 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:57 22 July 2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has made an announcement on reopening care homes to visitors. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has made an announcement on reopening care homes to visitors. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

A designated visiting room and arranged bookings are among ways families and friends will be able to visit loved ones in care homes.

The Department of Health and Social Care updated its guidelines on how visits can resume following a fall in the number of coronavirus cases in the community.

Under the guidelines, an area’s director of public health and council will outline how visits can take place and a full risk assessment will need to be completed by care homes.

Councillor Bill Borrett, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for adult social care and public health, said; “We know that this news will mean a lot for many care home residents across Norfolk as well as for their families. In restarting visits the safety and the health of care home residents must be our top priority: each care home is drawing up full risk assessments and making their own decisions, with support from us, ensuring the history of infection – both within the home and in the households of any visitors – is considered before any visits are made.”

When open, visitors will be encouraged to wear face coverings while maintaining social distancing measures and homes advised to limit to a “single constant visitor” where possible.

Care providers are asked to consider outdoor visits, which has been seen at a number of Norfolk care homes.

In the case of visits taking place in a resident’s room, visitors should go there directly to the room and leave immediately.

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The guidelines say care providers may also look to install a barrier or create a designated visiting room which can be used by one resident and visitor at a time before being cleaned.

Skin to skin contact such as handshakes and hugs are still discouraged and visitors wishing to bring gifts should bring items that can be easily cleaned such as a box of chocolates.

Visits should also be booked in advance and not on a “adhoc” basis.

Matt Hancock, health 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.

“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.”

Guidelines for support living settings will be published shortly.

Are you a care home owner or provider? How do feel about the latest announcement? Get in touch by emailing

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