Visiting in care homes (adults and children’s)

From today (Monday 24th May), rules on visiting care homes in Wales have been relaxed.
Anyone is now able to visit, but residents are only able to visit two people at a time.

Arrangements for all types of visit:

  • providers should keep records of all visitors to the home.  This should include when they visited and whom they had contact with
  • providers should keep records of all breaches in visiting protocols. This should include the date, time and type of breach
  • providers should respect people’s rights to a private and family life when planning visits. Visits should only be directly supervised by staff if there is a specific need to do so. Providers should  explain clearly to the person and their visitors the reasons for any direct supervision
  • providers should be flexible when considering visiting times
  • visitors and residents may hold hands. Visitors should wash hands before and after any contact with the resident or their environment and cover broken skin with a waterproof dressing or plaster before contact. Gloves are not required unless there are exceptional circumstances

Indoor visiting

  • two indoor visitors may visit at the same time. They should socially distance if not members of the same household or extended household
  • visits should, where possible, take place in a designated room to avoid visitors moving around the building. Ideally the designated room is close to the entrance of the building, and well ventilated
  • visits may take place in people’s rooms, if a designated room is not available. The window should be open, wherever possible, to ensure adequate ventilation
  • indoor visitors will be subject to testing
  • visitors should wear face coverings on entry to the home
  • visitors may remove face coverings once seated, if:
    • they are socially distanced from residents
    • visits are in a well ventilated room and that room is either a designated visiting room only being used by one family at a time or the residents own room
  • visitors should wear PPE where there is likely to be more significant close contact with the resident, and particularly when there is an increased infection risk i.e. during an incident or outbreak. Providers should provide PPE in these circumstances, and support visitors to wear safely

Visits within visiting pods/structures or similar enclosed spaces

  • there is no prescribed limit to the number of visitors within visiting pods/structures.  However visitors should be from the same extended household if attending at the same time. Care homes should manage this based on a risk assessment
  • visitors undertaking visits in visiting pods/structures will be not be tested if there is an outside entrance for the visitor, a fixed floor to ceiling screen and appropriate safeguards in place i.e. cleaning between visits
  • visitors should wear face coverings on entry to the pod/structure. Visitors may remove face coverings once seated, if there is an outside entrance for the visitor, a fixed floor to ceiling screen and appropriate safeguards in place i.e. cleaning between visits

Outdoor visiting

  • there is no prescribed limit to the number of outdoor visitors. Care homes should manage this based on a risk assessment
  • testing is not required for outdoor visits
  • visitors may remove face coverings while seated, where a two metre distance is maintained

Window visits

Window visits can take place at a home where there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in any alert level if:

  • care home staff can support this
  • the layout of the care home means that visitors do not enter the home
  • the resident can come to a window without exposing other vulnerable residents
  • the visitor remains two metres from the window

The window may be opened if visitors maintain a two metre distance.

Testing is not required for window visits.

Visits from children and young people

Providers may support visits from children and young people. However it is generally preferable to avoid indoor visits from young children to care homes for older people.

This is because it can be difficult for young children to socially distance. Providers should agree visits involving children in advance, so this can be risk assessed.

Babies and very young infants do not count towards the two visitor at a time indoor limit.

There is scope for additional flexibility on numbers when considering visits from children to a sibling or a parent living in a care home. These visits should be risk assessed and accommodated if considered appropriate. The number of children should be kept to a minimum so that space is not compromised and the room remains well ventilated.

Children aged 11 and over should wear the same PPE as adult visitors, where indicated.

Providers should test children aged 11 and over before indoor visits.

Parental consent should be sought before any test.

Visiting professionals and other supportive services

Providers may support indoor visits by professionals. This would include (but is not restricted to) visits from:

  • advocates
  • chiropodists
  • dentists
  • dietitians
  • community nurses
  • social workers
  • inspectors
  • Public Health Wales
  • local authority/health board environmental health officers

Providers should agree visits in advance, unless there is a need for the visit to be unannounced. Visiting professionals should take suitable measures to keep themselves and others safe including observing IP and C measures and using appropriate PPE. They should also follow advice issued in relation to their profession.

Providers may support indoor visits from hairdressers, subject to safeguards including:

  • using designated, well-ventilated areas, with regular cleaning
  • keeping records of visits from hairdressers, in line with other visitors

Providers may support outdoor visits for other services supporting people’s well-being such as entertainers.

Care home staff should support other supportive services during their visit, to ensure appropriate IP&C and PPE procedures are being followed.

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