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COVID-19 Visiting Arrangements for Care Homes

Visiting Arrangements for care homes

Please find below some information for care homes around visiting arrangements, including a position statement from the Directors of Public Health and information about the government guidance.

Please see below

16th August 2021: Guidance on Care Home Visiting Updated

For your information here is the latest DHSC guidance and also below is the visiting rights document that has been produced by the CQC, which we hope is helpful in understanding rights of both those living in your home/service and also for relatives

Also pdated ‘Guidance on care home visiting’ to reflect the change in guidance on 16 August that you no longer have to self-isolate after confirmed close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated or under 18. 

15th July 2021: Letter from DHSC re Visiting Arrangements in Care Homes

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recognises that care providers are experiencing unprecedented challenges. COVID-19 outbreaks continue to affect people who receive care, particularly residents in care homes, as well as staff.

We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to meet their loved ones safely, and appreciate the challenges visiting restrictions pose for loved ones. We continue to try to seek the right balance between infection prevention and allowing more visiting, more of the time.

With the easing of national restrictions on 19th July, care home visiting restrictions will also ease further. This includes the removal of guidance that limited the number of nominated visitors a resident can receive overall or on any one day. Guidance has also been updated to reflect that every care home resident should be supported to have an Essential Care Giver for companionship. The updated guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus.

For the full letter please click here.

17th June 2021: Visiting Arrangements in Care Homes Guidance Updated and Arrangements for Visiting Outside of the Care Home Updated

Visiting arrangements in care homes

Page summary:
Sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents.

Change made:
Updated to reflect that: 1. Care home residents should isolate following a visit only where it includes an overnight stay in hospital, or is deemed high-risk following an individual risk assessment. 2. Residents no longer should isolate on admission into the care home from the community. 3. Every resident can nominate an essential care giver.

Arrangements for visiting out of the care home

Page summary:
Sets out how care homes can support residents on visits outside of the care home.

Change made:
Updated to reflect that: 1. Care home residents should isolate following a visit only where it includes an overnight stay in hospital, or is deemed high-risk following an individual risk assessment. 2 Residents no longer should isolate on admission into the care home from the community. Removed ‘Visits out of care homes: summary of guidance’.

14th June 2021: Care home residents can stay overnight as visiting restrictions ease

Care home residents can stay overnight as visiting restrictions ease

Page summary:
Care home residents will be able to spend more time with family and friends.

Change made:
First published.

20th April 2021: External Professionals Visiting Care Homes

  • In emergency visits such as a 999 response, it is not appropriate to ask for or provide proof before entry to a care home, given the potential delay this could cause and the implications for prompt management of the emergency situation.
  • Care homes must ask the NHS professional when they were last tested and see proof of the result and date of the relevant professional’s test.
  • Care homes should see evidence from NHS professionals of a negative rapid lateral flow test completed within the last 72hrs.
  • Professionals who are not part of regular testing for NHS staff or cannot show evidence of a negative test will need to be tested at the care home in the same way as visitors.
  • If professionals are visiting multiple care homes in one day, they will now only need to be tested at the first care home they visit that day and can use evidence of this test at the next care home they visit.
  • Visiting professionals are exempt from testing for 90 days following a positive PCR test. These professionals should use evidence of their positive PCR result to show that they are currently exempt from testing until the 90-day period is over.

 

Further guidance can be found here: Testing for professionals visiting care homes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

For further information and resources, please also visit the Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Covid-19 Response Care Homes and Home Care (ECRT) Toolkit - https://healthandcarenotts.co.uk/your-health-matters/care-homes-and-home-care-toolkit/

9th April 2021: Visiting Arrangements in Care Homes

Visiting arrangements in care homes

Page summary:
Sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents from 12 April.

Change made:
Updated ‘Guidance on care home visiting’, ‘Summary of guidance for visitors’ and ‘Visiting arrangements: one-page overview’ to reflect that from 12 April, each care home resident can name up to 2 people who can come for regular indoor visits. In the ‘Guidance on care home visiting’, updated the section on essential care givers and added a new section on visits involving children and young people aged under 18.

19th March 2021: Visiting Residents in a Care Home

Visiting residents in a care home (updated 19th March 2021)

Due to the frequency of changing government guidance and best practice, the above document will be kept under review and will change. However, it is important that you check for updates prior to making any decisions based on the information contained in this document.

15th March 2021: Resources to support visiting in care homes

The National Care Forum has worked with care providers, residents and relatives’ organisations to develop a set of Partners in Care resources to assist the implementation of the Government’s new visiting in care homes guidance. The resources are designed to provide practical support to care homes and their relatives and loved ones to adopt the default position that care homes are open for visiting.

Care England has agreed the attached set of decision-making visiting principles to support care homes with the balance between safety and meeting people’s rights for meaningful contact with loved ones. The principles were agreed as a starting point in finding ways to support and promote, among care home residents, the basic human rights that protect all citizens.

4th March 2021: Visiting Arrangements in Care Homes Guidance from 8th March

Visiting arrangements in care homes

Sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents from 8 March.

20th Feb 2021: Care home residents to be allowed one visitor as part of cautious easing of lockdown

Care home residents to be allowed one visitor as part of cautious easing of lockdown

Care home residents will be able to be visited indoors by a single, named individual from 8 March as part of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions.  The scheme will allow a single visitor to hold hands indoors with their relative or contact in a care home, and make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe.

Further guidance will be published before the launch of the single, named visitor scheme on 8 March.  In the meantime please start to think about your care home in the respect of management of the visits and necessary risk assessments - https://www.gov.uk/government/news/care-home-residents-to-be-allowed-one-visitor-as-part-of-cautious-easing-of-lockdown

8th Jan 2021: Care Home Visiting Guidance

Care Home Visiting Guidance

With the move to national lockdown, we would like to bring to your attention the changes in the guidance on visiting arrangements in care homes. 

The letter from the Directors of Public Health for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Councils confirms the current advice for care home visiting. 

The latest government guidance for visits to care homes during coronavirus is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home#care-home-visits 

The government guidance states that “Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.” 

Existing guidance issued in December on visiting care homes during COVID-19 details how visits should be conducted. Residents cannot meet people indoors on a visit out (for example, to visit their relatives in the family home). There is separate guidance for those in supported living updated on 6 January 2021

21st Dec 2020: Care Home Visiting Letter and Guidance from Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council

Care Home Visiting Letter and Guidance from Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council:

1st Dec 2020: Update to Visiting Arrangements in Care Homes Guidance

Visiting arrangements in care homesSets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents.

 

9th Oct 2020: Update to Visiting Care Homes and Accommodation Based Settings

Dear Providers, 

In Nottingham we have seen a sharp rise in positive Covid cases across the City. Whilst the increase is greater in some areas than others, the increased risk this is presenting to those most vulnerable to adverse consequences of Covid is significant so we will implement increased restrictions to social care providers, particularly visiting of care homes and accommodation based settings. 

If you feel you can offer covid secure visiting arrangements, please contact us to discuss . Visiting will be restricted to: 

  • Visits from Professionals who cannot undertake important tasks remotely For example, this may include Safeguarding, Statutory Advocacy in certain circumstances, Flu vaccination.
  • Exceptional visits from family or significant others – for example to support end of life care, or where a Person’s wellbeing is so adversely impacted it presents a significant risk. 

This will be in place from today and will be reviewed in two weeks time. 

It is really important that we work to the key infection control measures we have in place:

  • Effective use of PPE
  • Workforce movement restrictions
  • Payment of staff to self-isolate as required
  • Use of the Infection Control fund to support measures

Given the increased prevalence of Covid in Nottingham it is critical we all work together to reduce the risk to our citizens. Clearly measures such as paying staff, full pay during a period of self isolation is just one important action, in order for these actions to be effective your staff need to be informed regularly through staff meetings and briefings of all actions you and they will be taking to reduce the risk of transmission. The Contracting Team will be working with you to ensure you are aware of and implementing the most effective measures that can reduce transmission. 

Up to date information is published regularly on the provider pages of ASKLiON

For Covid secure visiting discussions please contact: 

CoronaVirusQueries@nottinghamcity.gov.uk 

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Directors of Public Health Position Statement on Visiting Arrangements to Care Homes (September 2020)

Update September 2020:

The government guidance for visits to care homes during coronavirus is available at:

The above guidance requires local Directors of Public Health (DPH) to give a regular professional assessment of whether visiting is likely to be appropriate within the local authority area, taking into account the wider risk environment. As such, in Nottingham, we published and shared with care providers a position statement which is available below. 

This advises that the position of the DPHs is that care homes in the area can allow visitors, subject to completion of their own risk assessment. We believe care home managers and Infection Prevention Control (IPC) colleagues are best placed to risk assess the care home due to the unique challenges around the limitations of their estate and the need to protect vulnerable citizens.  

The Directors of Public Health for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County review their position on care home visiting each Thursday at the meeting of the Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Outbreak cell. As of 24th September, the DPHs along with Infection Prevention Control teams decided not to change their original position. However, this position will continue to be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Directors of Public Health Position Statement on Visiting Arrangements to Care Homes

Having reviewed local data, the Directors of Public Health for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County are advising that care homes can allow visitors, once they have completed a risk assessment. This does not apply to care homes with active outbreaks, which should remain closed to visitors until the outbreak is declared ‘over’ by your local IPC team. 

The Directors of Public Health will keep this position statement under review, as part of local outbreak control planning. This may result in the need to rapidly re-impose visiting restrictions in all, or individual care homes in case of a care home outbreak; a large, local workplace outbreak; or a rise in cases in the neighbouring community.

Government guidance on visiting arrangements to care homes, published on 22nd July, has already been circulated. This sets out the considerations and actions that should be taken by care homes. We recognise that when care homes make decisions about visitors they will have to consider many issues. The local Care Homes and Home Care Toolkit has been updated in response to this guidance.

In making this statement, the Directors of Public Health for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County have considered the disproportionate impact that the coronavirus outbreak has had on older citizens, particularly those in care homes.  Alongside this, we acknowledge the emotional burden borne by care home residents and their loved ones through lack of face to face contact.

Queries for public health advice can be addressed to (monitored Monday to Friday):

 

Jonathan Gribbin, Director of Public Health, Nottinghamshire County Council

Alison Challenger, Director of Public Health, Nottingham City Council

End

When was the guidance published and who is it for?

Updated government guidance on visiting arrangements to care homes was published for care home providers and Directors of Public Health on 22nd July 2020 and updated on the 21st September 2020. Below is a summary but please read the guidance in full here.

Who makes the decision on opening to visitors?

The decision on whether or not to allow visitors, and in what circumstances, is an operational decision and should be made by providers and managers of each individual setting.

However, Care Homes should base their decision on allowing visits on the advice from the Directors of Public Health, as well as guidance from the local infection-control lead from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and the local Public Health England (PHE) Health Protection Team (HPT).

What are the Directors of Public Health saying?

On 24th July 2020, released a statement outlining their position:

Having reviewed local data, the Directors of Public Health for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County are advising that care homes can allow visitors, once they have completed a risk assessment.

This does not apply to care homes with active outbreaks, which should remain closed to visitors until the outbreak is declared ‘over’ by your local IPC team.

For more information see the postion statement above.

Could this advice change?

Yes. The situation is constantly changing and the Directors of Public Health will keep their position statement under regular review, as part of local outbreak control planning. This may result in the need to rapidly re-impose visiting restrictions in all, or individual care homes in case of a care home outbreak; a large, local workplace outbreak; or a rise in cases in the neighbouring community.

DPH’s will contact care homes if their advice changes for all or individual care homes and update this toolkit page as appropriate.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have queries related to infection prevention control procedures for visitors then please contact your local IPC team. 

Queries related to the advice of the Directors of Public Health can be addressed to:

Arrangements for visiting out of the care home

1st May 21: Arrangements for visiting out of the care home - guidance updated

Page summary:
Sets out how care homes can support residents on visits outside of the care home.

Change made:
Added Supplementary guidance: visits out of care homes.


Update 9th April to guidance for visiting out of the care home

Change made - Updated to include more information about steps that should be taken to reduce the risks around a visit out of the care home.

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