Care home residents will be allowed one visitor from the 8th of March

Care home residents
© Pop Nukoonrat

As part of the government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions, care home residents will be allowed one indoor visitor from the 8th of March

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that from the 8th of March care home residents will be allowed to have one indoor visitor.

As part of a cautious easing of lockdown, visitors will be required to take a lateral flow test before entry and wear PPE. 

The scheme will allow a single visitor to hold hands with their relative/friend in the care home and make repeat visits.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“I know how important visiting a loved one is and I’m pleased we will soon be in a position for people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes.

“This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be. We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step-by-step way in the future.”

Professor Deborah Sturdy, chief nurse for adult social care, said:

“I know how much people want to visit, hug and kiss their loved ones but doing so can put lives at risk so we would ask people to continue to follow the rules.

“This is a first step towards resuming indoor visits and we all hope to be able to take further steps in the future.

“I am pleased that, as a result of so many people following the rules, we are in a position to increase visits and I hope this is just the start.”

Vaccination programme

The UK’s vaccination programme has offered every care home resident a COVID-19 jab and carried out a total of 17 million vaccinations.

28 COMMENTS

  1. My mothers care home is still saying steps are not put in place for a relative/ friend to have a holding hands visit it will probably be behind a glass partition?? Why when the government has said otherwise. They make too many excuses. Despite the fact that carers are refusing the vaccine surely they are putting my mother at risk. They have had 2 times covid in the home probably brought in by carers as visitors were banned and many residence dying. Please explain to me how this can be my Mum is in stage 5 kidney failure so her time is really limited she needs to see her family or at least one relation.
    It’s her ‘home’ not a prison that she pays for.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m so sorry to hear that your mother is ill and without wishing to be insensitive, I would encourage you to read up on End of Life guidelines for relatives visiting loved ones in residential care, even during this pandemic. End of Life does not mean the last few hours, days, weeks or even months of a person’s life because it is not an exact science is it, so read everything you can, stay strong and make sure you’re heard. I’m sure your mother is very proud of you for fighting her corner. I wish you both peace and time together. I have offered this information as a suggestion as I am in a similar position to you, but please check out the information for accuracy.

  3. My care home is allowing indoor visits from 8 March, but has stipulated 15 minutes
    With the time to take LFT, wait 30 minutes in car for results, this seems a short time.
    I am trying to find government guidance on time limits for indoor visits.

    .

    • I was looking forward to holding mums hand on Monday but a year on since last physical contact the home says they haven’t got the staff to supervise, take lateral flow testing AND record it in paperwork! I had booked a 1:30 visit but it’s probably in the pod again. I’m so upset by this the guidelines should be much clearer!

  4. My mums care home is still awaiting further updates re March 8th visiting. We are now told that only one person can visit behind glass rather than the usual 2. And that person has to be the named person who will visit and hold hand. Why is that?
    We asked for a 5 minute window wave into her bedroom (ground floor) which until now has been discouraged. Last week they allowed it but we had to have face masks, windows closed and mum was only allowed to sit at her doorway, 15ft away. She has severe dementia and little hope of seeing us through the window.
    This is so painful for Mum (actually my MIL) and us. I just feel that the care homes think us an inconvenience. Where is the communication between home and family as outlined by government to give the resident the best contact tailored for that person. What upsets us more is that whilst doing their best the home eventually succumbed to Covid throughout the home. Could it have been the numerous amount of ‘professionals’ in and out or the carers because visitors were banned at that time. I have to say some of the carers in the home have been fantastic
    We’ve been so involved with Mum on a daily basis, throughout her journey of 11 years and now l can’t see her at all tho luckily my husband will. It is an intensely difficult time with residents safety of the utmost importance and l understand the care homes dilemma but like so many other people l feel lost, angry and let down.
    It seems to have been too easy for the care homes to close ranks and keep us out and uninformed.

    • Liz, I really urge you to speak to your local MP, Citizens Advice and Age UK about this. As I said in a previous post, individual
      Residential Homes are interpreting the Governments Guidelines and we must make sure that their agenda is clear, humane and 100% transparent.

      It is up to us, the families of people in residential care, to speak out loudly and clearly on behalf of our loved ones, we are the only voice they have right now.
      It’s tough, it’s heartbreaking, frustrating and infuriating, but if we stick together and stay on the same page, we have far more chance of being listened to and taken seriously.

      Very best wishes to you and your loved ones.

    • I’m experiencing the exact same problem. I too tried to talk/wave to mum through a closed ground floor window but was discouraged. Nothing has been decided for indoor visiting except for not enough staff?
      Mum fell and broke her hip last month and I felt so helpless couldn’t comfort her and apparently still can’t. As you say some staff aren’t having vaccinations (the cook in this instance) which I find horrendous handling food for residents. They too had severe outbreak losing 12 when visitors weren’t allowed. It really needs sorting!

  5. I totally agree with you Margaret Oakes. What is going on right now is inhumane. My mum is currently in hosp on her 6th week following on from Covid she caught from the nursing home. She is a shell of the woman she was before Covid, due to lack of access to family. She will now never be able to do the crafts etc we did a year ago. She is now being fed puree food and cannot even hold a pen due to weakness left following Covid caught from inside the home! I don’t feel her home will let us in from March 8th. Mum barely speaks now and a visit behind glass will not work. She cannot use her wheelchair either now, so garden visits are even out. I’m beyond devastated at how precious time we had together can never be replaced. I believe that the home will not let us in due to the home being Nursing not Residential. These prison like visits need to end. They are human beings who have done no wrong and wish to see their family. Listen to the needs of these people, they are elderly and quality family time outweighs the risk! Treat us the same as carers and let us in!!!

  6. I agree with you all, I strongly feel that it is the individual residential homes varied ‘interpretations’ of the governments guidelines that need very close inspection.

    I find it hard to believe that we haven’t reached the stage of seriously violating the human rights of people currently in residential care.
    What has happened to the residents rights and the rights of residents families.

    I will update with any information I can access on my trawl through Covid-19 guidelines and the Human Rights Act!

    Wishing everyone in this situation time and peace with their loved ones.

  7. My son has multiple learning disabilities and lives in a residential care setting 23 miles away. I wish to be his designated visitor, either indoorsfr9m March 8th, or outdoors. He is finding lack of contact with family very difficult after so long, but up until now management where he lives say that Public health England have told them that I can’t cross the couple of miles over the Derbyshire border that this would involve, and he can’t cross into Derbyshire to meet me outdoors at a half way point either.
    Is this still the case after 8th March?

  8. Hi L Daniels it’s Margaret Oakes thank u you for your comments. I have mentioned the end of life and was told it is not relevant until my mum is in bed not eating or drinking that it comes into force. Despite me sending an e-mail to the home highlighting end of life can be months. I was told I can send as many e-mails as I like but it is their rules. I would move my mum but it will do more harm. I was told in November Mum had 7 days a week later 2 weeks and from what I have read 6 months is normally the longest. I was allowed in for these 2 weeks then they said no as she was walking eating and drinking. Any ideas where I can go from here?
    It is comforting to read other people understand how I feel.

    • Hi Margaret,
      I would speak with Age UK, your local MP and perhaps most importantly your mothers Renal Consultant and a support group specialising in your mothers condition.

      I haven’t read anywhere that the only definition of ‘end of life’ is when a person is no longer eating, drinking etc apart from in the last hours of a persons life when I imagine most people wouldn’t be able to eat or drink. This is exactly why the guidelines/definition of ‘end of life’ that I mentioned, must be used and followed by all relevant organisations to prevent open interpretation, misinterpretation and at worst, abuse of someones basic human rights.
      Again, I must stress that you check out the medical and legal aspects of this but it sounds to me as if your mothers particular home are being incredibly unhelpful, insensitive and quite frankly making decisions that are not theirs to make.
      It’s tough having to go through all this on top of everything else and I really hope you have some support not just for your mother, but also for yourself.
      If you are able to access information from online sources you will find support out there. Have you got someone who could do some research and question asking for you?
      I am happy to share any info that I can get my hands on, I am not a medical expert or a lawyer but I am a welfare rights advocate and a human/welfare rights activist and I have many years of experience.
      Always share any medical or legal concerns with the appropriate agencies.

      Please accept my online support and know that you are not alone.

      Very best wishes to you and your mother.

      Lesley

  9. We have just been told our parents both aged 91 have suddenly been sent a letter saying they have now been designated as extremely vulnerable and need to shield along withALL the other residents. The 8/3/21 visits are now cancelled. How can the government send out those letters dated before Mr Johnson raised our hopes telling us we could finally have one family member hold their hands?
    This is the most duplicitous insensitive inhuman behaviour I have ever encountered. They have a right to a family life. Their GP did not change their designation a Whitehall civil serve to 250 miles away has!!
    We are incensed!

    • Hi Jenny,
      Have your parents had their vaccinations?
      I’m not sure this information can be correct because shielding was introduced for the extremely vulnerable during full lockdown and prior to vaccinations being available.
      Unless there is covid actually in your parents residential home, the 8th of March rule should still apply.
      Anyone over 80 has always been in the extremely vulnerable group, have these letters been sent by mistake because it makes no sense does it.

      Have you spoken to the GP?

    • The previous shielding guidelines as of 24/02/21 have now been extended to 31/03/21 but I still don’t see how that will change the new 8th March visiting guidelines. Surely the PMs decision was made having taken into account the fact that all elderly residents in care home settings are in the extremely vulnerable group and always have been where Covid-19 is concerned. The combination of vaccinations, reduced figures of covid positive cases, reduced hospital admissions and a decrease in the death rate for Covid Positive patients, particularly in the over 80’s, is why the PM introduced the new 8th March guidelines for visiting residential homes. His decision must have taken into account that all residential care homes have been, and still are shielding.

  10. Just reading these comments makes me feel so upset. My mum has vascular dementia and not cuddle her for a year now just like everyone else it’s so sad . My dad feels lonely and was so excited that he could hold her hand on the 8th March, then he was told he can not enter the home and has to sit in the porch and is not sure if he can hold her hand. Surly in the cold weather that this is more harmful to my mum as has constant chest infection., been in a central heated house to a cold porch. This really upsets me and I feel each care home is making there own rules up. Hope you all get to see your loved ones soon ❤️

    • That’s because they are Kathy! I’m so sorry to keep hearing these concerns, the Alzheimers Society is running a campaign for residents rights during the Pandemic.
      I’m fully supportive of this but at the same time I think an emergency meeting needs to be called as a lot of our loved ones don’t have ‘time’ to wait for campaigns to go through all the red tape and jump through the numerous hoops that campaigning usually involves.
      What I’ve learned over the years is to ask questions, question everything and if you want answers and action, wherever possible, go to the top to get those answers. It will save a lot of being passed from pillar to post, it will save a lot of time, and most importantly, it may save your sanity!!!

      My best wishes to you and your loved ones, never give up, you are not alone.

  11. More of the same I’m afraid, i still get bills for chiropody and hairdressing but i am refused entry, these people are working with how many people per day ….touching my dad…… in and out of premises around town yet i am considered too risky to be allowed to visit my dad who has not been seen for 14 mths now…..essentially he has been abandoned is how i feel, even he calls it a prison. Not all staff members have taken the vaccine yet still i am not allowed in.
    Shameful is what this is, the residents ( inmates ) were all confined to their single rooms for upwards of 20 days (losing mobility ) under the guise of positive test results, yet ….. a regular flu jab is known to produce a false positive for covid . My dad has chronic asthma plus dementia he was physically well during his confined to his cell period i spoke with him every day. The isolation was cruel and pointless for all concerned, what difference would it have made if they were business as usual they are supposed to be in a closed environment ie; all together, protected from outside……..staff bring it in hairdresser and chiropody not the residents. I do not believe the place had it at all. Project fear is a disgrace and care means family to be included no effort to reunite people has been made at my dads care home quite the opposite in fact….I have been consistently quoted were following gov guidelines, only now i ask to book a visit visa vee 8 march the new Boris announcement andnow they Don’t seem to be following gov guidelines…..
    now its doors are not opening yet we don’t know when…….disgraceful.. Just what are the staff doing in there behind closed doors they have certainly got used to being unaccountable by having no inconvenient family members in the building.

  12. Hi again
    The care home has now 23 new shielding residents. Their gp knew nothing about this letter. Their medical condition has not changed. They refer to the new oxford QCOVID algorithm for deciding shielding status. I gave read the BMJ article and associated links the only variable to have changed for my parents is they now include ethnicity and POSTCODE so can target ALL care homes. My friends 100 year old mum living with them is Not required to shield. It is grossly unfair. We have all had one vaccine PPE is available s lateral flow test was organised pre visit and the care home was just waiting for final guidance from the government. Instead of guidance these shielding letters arrived and they have said no visits.
    There is no hope of holding my parents again they keep putting new barriers in place. They are imprisoned for no crime save getting old!
    Please help us

  13. Hi all,

    I have spoken to my local Health Watch Team and they are going to contact, and work with the Clinical Commissioning Group to really try to get these issues and concerns addressed as a matter of urgency. Health watch asked for people to contact their local Health Watch Team as the more people speak out, the louder we will be heard.
    I will keep you all updated with every piece of information that comes my way, and I hope I can offer support if you need it.
    My background is in Welfare and Human Rights, medical and legal matters should be discussed with the relevant professionals.

    Hang in there everyone

    Lesley

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