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 Government has updated their advice on supporting safe visiting in care homes.

Key information

  • If you live in a care home, you can select three named visitors and one essential care giver to visit you indoors.
  • Every care home resident can nominate an essential care giver who can visit during an outbreak or period of isolation.
  • Following a COVID-19 outbreak at a care home, visits will pause until the whole home has completed two rounds of negative PCR tests, taken four to seven days apart. This means outbreaks could be declared over in some homes after seven or eight days. Restrictions could be in place for longer periods if there has been an outbreak of a variants of concern.

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

Can I visit someone in a care home?

Yes, in the following ways:

All care home residents can nominate three named visitors for indoor visits. Your care home will ask who you would like as your named visitors.

Every care home resident can also nominate an essential care giver, in addition to their three named visitors. Essential care givers can visit indoors more often, including during outbreaks or periods of self-isolation. 

Where a resident lacks the capacity to choose an essential care giver, the care home should discuss the situation with the resident’s family, friends, attorney, deputy or anyone else who may usually have visited.

Indoor visits to a resident at the end of their life should continue in all cases, without limiting the number of visitors. This includes in the event of an outbreak.

For those not nominated as named visitors or essential care givers, visits can still be arranged outdoors, in designated visiting 'pods', behind windows, or substantial screens. Each care home will have its own arrangements for these types of visits.

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

Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection. It significantly reduces the transmission of infection, particularly after two or more doses. The Government strongly recommends that residents and visitors receive two doses of the vaccine, plus their booster, before conducting visits.

If eligible, visitors are also advised to get their flu jab when it is offered to them.

It is advised to care homes that visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated and have received their booster.

To reduce the risk of infection, it is also vital that visitors wash their hands regularly, use any PPE the home provides, and limit contact with residents and staff by maintaining as much social distance as possible.

How often can I visit?

There is no nationally-set limit on how often a resident's three named visitors can visit the care home for indoor visits. However, visitors should make arrangements with the care home for a visit in advance, so that the care home can manage the number of people attending the home at any one time. This will help them to ensure visiting is safe, based on the layout of the home. 

The care home should set out any precautions or limits in their visiting policy.

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.

The Government Guidance was updated on 30 December 2021 to reflect resident LFD testing following visits out of the care home are required every second day for 10 days.

Read the guidance about visiting outside a care home