Lockdown loneliness could begin to ease for many older people, as care home residents are allowed more out-of-home visits.
Care home residents can leave for low-risk visits without needing to self-isolate on return, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
People can visit their family’s garden or take a walk to public places such as parks and beaches with a care worker or named visitor. This easing of restrictions came into effect from 4 May. It’s a fast-moving situation, which can only encourage a number of MMHS householders who’ve been separated from their loved ones because of Covid.
As well as being accompanied by a care worker or nominated visitor, care home residents must follow Government guidelines of washing hands, keeping social distance, and remaining outside. Guidance will be updated as data shows cases falling in the community.
The changes come as the data shows cases continuing to fall. Going out is now much safer for care home residents, who are among the most vulnerable to Covid-19. Keeping visits outdoors will ensure any risk is minimised.
Visits should take place solely outdoors, except for the use of toilet facilities, with no visits to indoor spaces and avoiding the use of public transport where possible. One exemption has already been applied – for those who wished to vote in person in the recent local elections.
‘I know this has been long awaited for those who haven’t had a chance to enjoy trips out,’ said Minister for Care Helen Whately. ‘I look forward to encouraging more visiting and trips out in future as we turn the tide on this cruel virus.’
The pandemic has been ‘incredibly challenging’ for those living in care homes, said Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care, Professor Deborah Sturdy. ‘Our social care workforce have done a heroic job of keeping their residents safe and supported.’
Arrangements in areas with high, or rapidly rising, levels of infection, and/or variants of concern, will need additional local advice from directors of public health. Visit Care UK’s website for an example of how one care home organisation has been responding to the new rules. (Photo: Sofikos/Shutterstock)