What you need to know about care home visiting

Information about visiting care homes and people who live in care home making visits outside their care home

The most up to date guidance, can be found at  Gov.uk website

More visits to people who live in care homes are now allowed and those who live in care homes can do more things outside of the care home:

  • If you live in a care home, you can have named visitors who can attend the care home for indoor visits. Following the latest guidance, there is now no limit on the number of named visitors a resident can have. There is also no nationally-set limit on the number of named visitors who can visit in a single day.
  • Every care home resident should be able to nominate an essential care giver who can visit during an outbreak or period of isolation. 

In the event of an COVID-19 outbreak, care homes should immediately stop visiting (except in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life or for indoor visits by essential care givers) to protect vulnerable residents, staff and visitors.

Can I visit someone in a care home?

Yes, in the following ways:

All care home residents can nominate named visitors for indoor visiting. The government has not set a limit on how many named visitors can visit in a single day. However, it is possible that the care home may set limits.

Named visitors may also bring babies and preschool-aged children if this does not breach national restrictions on indoor gatherings.

Rapid lateral flow  COVID tests will be provided, as will personal protective equipment (PPE).

Every care home resident can nominate an essential care giver as one of their named visitors. Essential care givers will have access to the same testing and PPE as care home staff to provide close contact support, such as washing, dressing or eating.

Essential care givers can visit multiple times on the same day, and they can also visit on days when other named visitors have visited. However, If the resident or care giver are positive for COVID-19, visits will only be allowed during end-of-life visits.

People not nominated as named visitors can still see their loved one via visits that are arranged outdoors, in visiting 'pods', or behind windows or screens.

It is recommended that care homes operate a simple booking or appointments system to enable visits.

What should I do to help keep my loved one safe?

Named visitors should use the rapid lateral flow COVID tests before their visits to determine whether or not they are COVID positive.

They should also wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow any other infection control measures given to them by care home staff.

Essential care givers will be required to follow the same testing arrangements as staff, which includes taking a minimum of two rapid lateral flow tests a week and one PCR test a week (a test which goes of to a lab). If the care giver tests positive, or the home declares an outbreak, more testing may be required.

Visitors and residents are allowed to hold hands but are advised to keep physical contact as minimal as possible to avoid transmission.

Visitors should also observe social distancing from other visitors, staff and residents at all times.

As is the case with visitors of all ages, there should be no close physical contact between babies or young children and the residents they are visiting. Children aged 11 and over should wear the same PPE as adult visitors. Children under the age of 3 should not wear masks for safety reasons. 

You do not have to be vaccinated to visit your loved one in a care home. However, the government strongly recommends that you are, and that you receive your vaccination as soon as you are able to do so. 

How often can I visit?

It is recommended that residents have no more than two visitors at any one time or over the course of one day. Essential care givers are not included in these limits.

There will be further opportunities for different forms of visits e.g. in a visiting 'pod', or through a window. These visits may not be subject to the same daily limits, and they will be available to anyone, even if they are not a named visitor.

These visits will still observe social distancing and you will need to follow any instructions care home staff give you. They will also need to be agreed with the care home.

Can a care home resident come and visit me out of the care home?

Yes, these visits are allowed for residents of all ages. They will be planned in consultation with care home managers and named visitors. Risk assessments and testing requirements will be subject to these visits going ahead.

Activities outside of the care home that will not require self-isolation include:

  • a regularly planned overnight stay to a nominated visitor's home
  • outdoor visits to parks, beaches or gardens
  • medical appointments (other than overnight stays in hospitals)
  • visiting day centres
  • attending educational settings
  • going to work

Should a care home experience an outbreak of COVID, the care home will likely limit the availability of these visits (except in exceptional circumstances) for at least 14 days.

Read the guidance about visiting outside a care home