All care home residents will be able to participate in more out-of-home visits without having to isolate on their return from this week. Residents will be able to leave their care homes to visit a friend or family member’s garden, or go on walks in places such as parks, public gardens and beaches. They will not have to self-isolate when they return.
Residents must be accompanied by either a care worker, or nominated visitor, and follow the government guidelines of washing hands regularly, keeping social distance, and remaining outside, in line with step 2 of the roadmap.
The changes come as the data shows cases continuing to fall, meaning it is now much safer for care home residents, who are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, to leave their homes. Keeping visits outdoors will ensure any risk is minimised as much as possible.
To take part in outdoor activities, residents will be accompanied by a member of care home staff, or one of their nominated visitors, and they cannot meet in groups as care home residents are most at risk from COVID-19.
Visits out of the care home should take place solely outdoors, except for the use of toilet facilities, with no visits to indoor spaces (public or private) and avoiding the use of public transport where possible.
An exemption will be in place for those who wish to vote in person in the upcoming local elections, as long as they follow national coronavirus restrictions and measures in place at polling stations. While the majority of residents will have made use of postal votes, or a proxy, those who prefer to vote in person can do so on 6 May.
Arrangements in areas with high, or rapidly rising, levels of infection in the local community, and/or variants of concern, will need additional local advice from directors of public health. Latest statistics show that 95% of residents have received their first dose of the vaccine and 71% have received their second.
Residents who have tested positive, or who have COVID-19 symptoms, must self-isolate and would therefore not be able to leave the care home. In the event of an outbreak, all residents must self-isolate, and visits out will be suspended to prevent the spread of the virus.
As part of the roadmap out of lockdown, guidance was updated on 12 April for care homes to increase visiting, and allow 2 nominated visitors per resident.
Guidance on visits out of care homes will be kept under review, including, when the data shows it is safe, the requirement for residents to isolate on their return from a visit.
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