CARE home residents in England can now enjoy visits from two grandchildren from April 5, as the lockdown rules continue to be eased.
Regular visits are being extended from one to two people under carefully designed conditions to prevent transmission of Covid-19.
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What is the guidance for visiting care homes?
From March 8, 2021, each care home resident in England was allowed to name and receive one visitor.
Residents with the highest care needs were also able to nominate an essential care giver.
Care home visitors will be asked to provide a negative test result and wear PPE during the visit to keep themselves, staff and residents safe.
Now, visitors who are parents will also be able to visit with babies and very young children, who will not count as one of the visitors.
This means grandparents and great-grandparents will be able to meet the newest members of their families for the first time.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Reuniting family and friends has been a priority each time restrictions have eased, and the next step will be no different.
"I’m particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.
"Thanks to the tireless work of care home staff, and the success of the vaccine rollout, we’re able to increase the number of visits in a safe and controlled way."
Further opportunities for relatives and contacts to have outdoor, pod and screen visits will continue in line with the published guidance which has been in place during lockdown.
Plus, care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.
- Vaccination is not mandatory and will not be a condition of visiting loved ones in care homes.
- Visits will be suspended during local outbreaks in individual homes.
- Visits by essential care givers and exceptional circumstances including end of life should "always be enabled", says the government.
- Care homes can decide how often and for how long visitors can be on the premises.
- Visits should take place in a well-ventilated room, for example with windows and doors open where it is safe to do so.
Visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum, says the government, to prevent the spread of Covid.
The nominated visitor and resident are allowed to hold hands.
However there should not be close physical contact such as hugging or kissing.
Visitors "should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of coronavirus transmission", says official advice.
Although hand-holding is allowed, visitors must wear PPE in care homes to protect residents.
Visitors to care homes need to take a rapid lateral flow test and test negative before every visit.
If the visitor tests positive they must immediately leave the premises to go home and self-isolate, avoiding public transport.
Care home managers have discretion to set up their own testing areas.
The government has allowed these visits to start as part of its careful plan to normality in the UK after the third lockdown.
Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The NHS vaccination programme is in full swing and more than 21million of the most at-risk people have already received their first dose.
“This includes more than 90 per cent of those aged 65 and over and almost nine in ten people who are clinically extremely vulnerable."
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