The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) updated guidance last night, relating to visits out of care homes.
The guidance applies from 19th July 2021. It accompanies the Government roadmap to ease restrictions across England and replaces all previous guidance on visits outside of the care home.
The Government has said that there are certain types of activity where the risks are inherently higher and the advice is that in these cases the resident should self-isolate on their return (to the care home).
These activities are:
- Overnight stays in hospital.
- Visits assessed to be high-risk following an individual risk assessment.
It is the Government’s ambition that guidance on self-isolation following overnight stays in hospital will be amended as soon as the data and evidence show it is safe.
The following points are also included in the guidance:
- All other visits out of the care home that are not assessed as high risk should be supported, and not subject to advice to self-isolate on return to the care home, subject to an individual risk assessment.
- Where applicable, attention should also be given to any additional local guidance provided by the local director of public health (DPH) and director of adult social services (DASS).
- All precautions relating to COVID-19 should be followed while out of the care home. Where residents are visiting a location with an existing testing regime – for example, a workplace, day care centre or education setting – they should participate in the relevant testing regime for that organisation where possible.
- Separate guidance is available on planning visits that residents may need to make to a hospital or other healthcare setting.
- Care homes should always support visits out in exceptional circumstances, such as to visit a friend or relative at the end of their life.
The Government said that providers are best placed to define their overall policy for how outward visits are supported in the care home and should exercise their judgement when putting this guidance into practice in a way that takes into account the assessed needs of their residents and what is possible within the facilities and resources of the care home.
For more information on how to mitigate risks during visits out of care homes, visit the Government website.