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

  • There are no nationally set direct restrictions on visiting in care homes.
  • The Government expect and encourage providers to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way.
  • People living in care homes are typically more vulnerable to severe illness as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). While vaccination is proving very effective, there are still some cases of severe illness, hospitalisation and death of care home residents who have been vaccinated. Additional measures are therefore in place to facilitate visiting while keeping care home staff and residents safe. These include: infection prevention and control (IPC) measures, individual risk assessments, testing arrangements, isolation on return from some high-risk activities out of the home

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:

Unless the care home has an outbreak of COVID-19, the guidance recommends that care home providers should allow indoor visits to happen wherever possible.

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.

Every care home resident can also nominate an essential care giver. Essential care givers are family members or friends who 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.

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.

It is recommended that physical contact be allowed between visitors and residents, as long as measures are taken to reduce the risk of infection through the rest of the visit. This includes hand washing and using any PPE the home provides.

How often can I visit?

There is no nationally-set limit on how often 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 10 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

What are the rules for those working in the care home?

From 15 March 2022, people visiting an adult care home in a professional capacity are no longer required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, staff and volunteers are still encouraged to get vaccinated if the NHS recommends that they do so. It is also important to continue to be sensitive to the concerns that the public may have about engaging with people who are not vaccinated.