More visits out for care home residents without needing to isolate on return

Care home residents in England will be able to leave their home for more visits without needing to self-isolate for 14 days on their return, the Government has said.

This includes overnight stays with family and friends from next Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

And new residents entering a care home from the community will no longer need to isolate for 14 days.

But the requirement, due to be set out in updated Government guidance, will remain for residents entering a care home from hospital, moving between care homes and any other visit deemed “high risk”.

Care homes will need to conduct individual risk assessments to ensure visits out are not high risk, which take into account the planned number of nights away from the residence.

The changes will ensure new residents being admitted from the community “will have a less disruptive introduction to their new home”, DHSC said.

They will need to take a PCR test before they arrive, on the day of arrival and seven days later.

Minister for Care Helen Whately said: “I have heard first-hand from those living and working in care homes how difficult the restrictions around visiting have been and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone working in the sector who has helped reunite families safely.

“Thanks to the continued success of the vaccine rollout, I am pleased we can now take another step towards normality, helping more people enjoy visits out of the care home while protecting them from the continued risk of Covid-19.”

Current guidance already says residents can leave the home for low-risk outdoor visits and visits to hospitals as outpatients, GPs, dentists, day centres, workplaces and educational settings without needing to self-isolate after.

But following any overnight stay, including a hospital visit, and on admission, it says residents are required to isolate for 14 days.

Last week a charity said it had applied for permission for a judicial review of the guidance at the High Court.

John’s Campaign says it is unlawful because it encourages providers to falsely imprison residents, and makes it likely that providers will not conduct individual risk assessments.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Pixabay.