Care home residents in England will be allowed to receive two regular visitors indoors from 12 April, as Covid-19 restrictions are eased further, the Government has said.
People in care homes have been allowed one regular face-to-face visitor since 8 March, but this will be extended to two visitors who must provide a negative coronavirus test result and wear PPE, as part of updated guidance.
Parents will be able to take babies and young children with them, who will not count as one of the visitors – meaning some residents will meet their grandchildren for the first time.
Fiona Carragher, director of research and influencing at Alzheimer’s Society, said care home residents with dementia had ‘experienced a devastating increase in their dementia symptoms over the past year’ because of reduced visits.
She added: ‘We’ve come a long way since the first lockdown, and soon we hope to see the benefits from people with dementia being reunited with their loved ones. As infection rates continue to drop, and more people get vaccinated, we hope care homes will be able to safely open up further.’
Outdoor visits, as well as those inside pods or behind screens, will continue as they have during lockdown, giving residents the chance to see more than just their nominated indoor visitors.
Essential care givers – who provide care such as washing or dressing residents – will be able to continue to visit more often to help residents who may become distressed without them providing their care.
Minister for care Helen Whately said: ‘Increasing care home visiting is a top priority as we ease Covid restrictions. I know just how much these visits mean to residents and their loved ones.
‘We want to go further, so we’re allowing more visitors at this next stage of the roadmap – and our aim is to make visiting care homes as normal as possible by the summer.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘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.’
Registered nurse Karen Rennie explained the importance of touch to care home nursing, even during a pandemic, in her piece for Nursing in Practice last year.