Everyone is well aware of the strain care homes have been under. The COVID-19 restrictions have been hugely challenging for residents and their loved ones, as well as for care home staff and colleagues. Views on best practice has been varied, with an eye being closely kept on the point where contact with loved ones can resume. Emerging and recent international evidence on COVID-19, demonstrates potential physical, emotional and cognitive harm for residents from prolonged isolation, providing a real need to see change as soon as it is safely viable.
New guidance has been published 24th February, which applies to all adult care homes. Care homes are now asked to make arrangements to enable meaningful contact with residents and loved ones. Of course, given each care home has different elements to take into account, the guidance has been designed to allow flexibility as the pandemic continues.
Care homes are expected to begin preparations and implementation immediately, working towards accommodating up to two designated visitors per resident, whilst ensuring all appropriate safeguards are in place to protect residents, staff and visitors alike.
To assess the progress with this new approach, the guidance will be reviewed by the end of April 2021, with ongoing local and national monitoring from day one.