As the Government acknowledges, being able to visit someone living in a care home is important to their health, wellbeing and quality of life. Visits are also important to enable family and friends of residents to be able to contribute to their care and support.
During the Covid-19 pandemic there were severe restrictions in place that prevented many visits to residents in care homes. The Government has now removed the restrictions but has published guidance for visitors and care home providers.
The guidance suggests what should happen to ensure staff and residents remain safe.
For example, the guidance suggests calling ahead of your visit to let the care home know when you will visit. It is also recommended that visitors should take a lateral flow test on the day of their visit.
The Government’s advice does not suggest any limit should be placed on the duration of a visit to a care home resident. Further visits should not be limited to a resident’s room but take place in a room where it is most practicable and comfortable for them to see visitors. Whilst face masks are recommended in communal areas, the Government understands face masks may cause distress to some residents and as a result, that face masks may be removed when not in communal areas.
Whilst Government guidance on visits to a care home during an outbreak advises stopping indoor visiting, they also suggest other methods of maintaining contact. For example, visits taking place in well-ventilated spaces with substantial screens, in visiting pods or from behind windows.
An exception to this is a resident’s essential caregiver. This is an identified person who may visit the home to offer companionship or help with care needs. The Government guidance sets out that essential care givers should be able to visit inside the care home even during periods of isolation and outbreak, providing the essential care giver does not have COVID-19 and follows the same testing arrangements as staff. If a care home resident has tested positive for COVID-19, their essential care giver visits can be made in exceptional circumstances, for example if the resident is in severe distress or at the end of their life. The Government guidance sets out that visits by family at the end of the life of a resident should always be supported, including where the resident has COVID-19.
If you have concerns about someone in a care home or nursing home and want advice from a solicitor our public law, community care or Court of Protection teams at TV Edwards may be able to assist you. Please contact us on 020 3440 8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make an enquiry.