Scots care home residents to be allowed designated visitors during Covid outbreaks

Care home residents will be able to name a relative or friend who will still be able to visit even if there is a coronavirus outbreak in the home, the Scottish Government has announced.

Social care minister Kevin Stewart confirmed that designated visitors will be able to attend care homes where there are Covid-19 infections in an effort to continue “meaningful contact” for residents.

Following a coronavirus outbreak – defined as two or more linked cases in a fortnight – care homes have tended to suspend visiting until the outbreak is over.

But under the new guidance, the named family member or friend will still be able to visit the care home while the outbreak is under way.

Announcing the changes, Mr Stewart said: “Throughout the pandemic, our overriding priority in care homes has been to safeguard and protect staff and residents from infection but at times that meant that residents were cut off from their loved ones, which we know has caused anguish and distress for many.

“The proposal for a named visitor will provide continuity of meaningful contact for care home residents in managed Covid-19 outbreak situations, helping to protect residents’ wellbeing in parallel by allowing visiting in a safer way, rather than automatically suspending routine visiting during an outbreak.

Mr Stewart also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to introducing Anne’s Law, as called for by Care Home Relatives Scotland, to allow people who live in care homes to choose people to come and look after them.

He added that a consultation “seeking views on how best we might make it work in practice” would be published shortly.

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