This page was updated on 27th September 2021 to outline the latest changes in Government guidance, for our homes in England and Scotland. Please bear with us as it may take our homes a short while to make the changes they need to get everything ready to welcome more visitors safely back into our homes.
Relatives Coronavirus Helpline – We’d Love to Hear From You
We’ve set up a Relatives Helpline so that any of our existing Relatives can find out about the measures we’re taking to protect our Residents, Relatives and Colleagues, to find out about our visiting arrangements based on the latest government guidance and how these might affect you. We’ve set up this helpline to help guide you through the best possible way to stay in touch with your loved one.
Please call us on our dedicated Relatives Helpline 0333 321 4654
Time is precious, so we do everything we can to make each moment count.
We are committed to doing everything we can to support safe visits in our care homes in line with government and public health guidance.
We are continually reviewing our visiting policies and making changes where possible and safe, so that we can help to keep families connected, whilst prioritising the safety of our Residents, Colleagues and visitors alike.
We really welcome the latest Government guidance and we have set out below how we are supporting safe visits to our care homes and the different types of visits available at all homes, which are not subject to an outbreak:
- Indoor visits (including visiting pods where screens have been removed).
- Indoor visits where substantial screens are in place, or in visiting pods (with screens).
- Outdoor visits including controlled garden and window visits.
- Essential care givers to provide close contact personal care for Residents, for one designated person.
- Visits in exceptional circumstances including compassionate visits.
Please note, whilst Residents are able to now have an unlimited number of named visitors, these will be risk assessed and the number of visitors, how often the visits can occur and the duration of the visits will be agreed as part of each Residents risk assessment and visiting plan. Our Home Managers are in the best position to determine where and how these visits are booked and take place so they can be sure they are safely managed. Every decision made by the care home will be to keep your loved ones, our Colleagues and our visitors safe.
In England, although the number limit of named visitors has been removed, Residents should still identify their named visitors to the care home so they can be supported for the necessary testing and to facilitate COVID-19 secure visits. If the Resident lacks the capacity to decide who they want their named visitors to be, you can discuss and agree this with the home.
Essential Care Giver
Every Resident can choose to nominate an essential care giver, who will be able to provide them with a greater degree of personal care or support to help maintain their health and wellbeing. The essential care giver will be able to visit more often and may visit the Resident to attend to their essential care needs, provide companionship, and additional care and support that is central to the health and wellbeing of the Resident, and whereby their health or wellbeing could deteriorate without it. Essential care givers are able to visit in all circumstances, including if the care home is in outbreak or the Resident is self-isolating (excluding if the essential care giver or Resident are COVID-19 positive).
The essential care giver will be supported to follow the same PPE, infection control measures and testing arrangements as care home Colleagues. The intention is that each Resident should be involved in deciding who they are. Although being vaccinated is not a condition of being an essential care giver, it is strongly recommended that when presented with the opportunity, essential care givers consider receiving both doses of the vaccine before choosing to be the nominated essential care giver.
Due to the vulnerability of our Residents, it is recommended that if a fully vaccinated essential care giver is identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they do not visit the care home until they can provide evidence of a negative PCR test result (which must have been carried out post-contact with the COVID-19 positive individual), and they should carry out daily LFD testing for 10 days. Where visits do occur, visitors should have a negative LFD result taken on the day of their visit, prior to arriving at the home.
If the essential care giver has not been vaccinated or they have not yet received both doses of the vaccine, they should not visit until they have completed their self-isolation period as a close contact.
Visits out of the home
For the latest guidance on visits out of the home for our homes in England - please click here.
- Indoor visits with the frequency and duration of visits to be agreed as part of each Resident’s visiting assessment and plan.
- Outdoor visits, including visitor pods and window visits with numbers to be determined dependent upon the risk factors set by the Home Manager, level and local Public Health guidance.
- Essential visits including compassionate visits which can be arranged at all times.
- Named visitors can continue to visit the Resident indoors during COVID-19 outbreaks.
In line with the government’s Open with Care approach, visits from loved ones and friends are encouraged, with the number of indoor visitors for each Resident being dependent only on their wishes and practical considerations around coordinating visits safely.
We are still required to keep a record of all visitors to the home and make sure that the numbers of visitors are within current guidance. A Responsible Visitor’s Agreement needs to be completed prior to every visit and these are retained for track and trace purposes.
We also need to log evidence that all visitors have carried out a lateral flow test (LFD test), with a negative result, prior to the visit. Ideally, we would like you to be able to carry out your LFD test at home and bring us evidence of a negative result. If you are currently having the LFD test done in the care home, then we would like you to consider if you can do this in your own home before you come in for your visit.
We also need to be very mindful about the total number of people in the home at any one time, as adequate ventilation is one of the factors we need to consider for managing safe visits. To ensure we can safely accommodate requests for larger groups of visitors, if there will be three or more visitors at the same time who are visiting one Resident, we kindly request that you book these types of visits in advance.
Each Resident can now nominate one named visitor who may continue visiting the Resident in their room during a managed COVID-19 outbreak at the home. This will ensure that Residents can continue to benefit from regular visits by a named visitor when wider restrictions on routine visits are in place. A named visitor may be able to visit a Resident who has tested positive for COVID-19 to provide comfort in what can be a stressful time, this would involve a very managed visited and would depend on the individual circumstances of the Resident and the care home.
The named visitor must not be displaying any COVID-19 symptoms and have not been identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case in the previous 14 days. The named visitor must also be fully vaccinated and adhere to COVID-19 precautions such as LFD testing, wearing appropriate PPE and physical distancing. The named visitor needs to be fully aware of the risks involved in visiting during an outbreak for themselves, their loved one, other Residents and members of the team at the care home.
There is no restriction on who each Resident can choose to nominate, and they will be supported to decide who their essential visitor will be, for example a spouse, partner, close family member or friend. In the event where a named visitor is unable to visit during an outbreak, the team will assist the Resident in choosing an alternative individual who is able to visit.
The care home may have to temporarily suspended visits except essential visits to enable an outbreak to be brought under control, this will be determined by the local HPT in discussion with the care home management team.
Visits out of the home
For the latest guidance on visits out of the home for our homes in Scotland - please click here.
- Indoor visits including in Resident’s own rooms and designated visiting rooms (without screens), there is no prescribed limit of visitors, however this will need to be in line with the ability of the home to accommodate.
- Indoor visits within visiting pods/structures or similar enclosed spaces (either with or without screens), there is no prescribed limit of visitors, however this will need to be in line with the ability of the home to accommodate.
- Outdoor visits, i.e. garden and window visits there is no prescribed limit of visitors, however this will need to be in line with the ability of the home to accommodate.
- Essential visitor for each Resident from one named person.
- Essential visits including compassionate visits.
Please note, whilst Residents are able to now have an unlimited number of visitors, these will be risk assessed and the number of visitors, how often the visits can occur and the duration of the visits will be agreed as part of each Resident’s risk assessment and visiting plan. Our Home Managers are in the best position to determine where and how these visits are booked and take place so they can be sure they are safely managed. Every decision made by the care home will be to keep your loved ones, our Colleagues and our visitors safe. We encourage you to openly communicate with us and appreciate your patience and cooperation, as we work together to effectively manage risks for all types of visits, and when taking your loved one outside of the care home.
Visitors may now bring gifts with them, including food and drinks which may now be shared between visitors and Residents during the visit. These no longer need to be kept in sealed, unopened containers.
Each Resident can now nominate one essential visitor who may continue visiting the Resident indoors during a COVID-19 outbreak at the home. This will ensure that Residents can continue to benefit from regular visits by a nominated essential visitor when wider restrictions on routine visits are in place, however these visits should not happen if either the essential visitor or Resident are COVID-19 positive, unless there are exceptional circumstances for the visit.
There is no restriction on who each Resident can choose to nominate and they will be supported to decide who their essential visitor will be, for example a spouse, partner, close family member or friend. Residents may change their essential visitor, but should not do this routinely.
Where essential visitors provide care to Residents, the Home Manager will consider whether the support provided is closer to that of a Colleague (instead of a visitor) and, if so, the essential visitor will be tested in-line with our Colleagues and use the same Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Visits out of the home
For the latest guidance on visits out of the home for our homes in Wales - please click here.
Visiting care homes in England, Scotland and Wales
This guidance applies to homes that are not experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 and we will of course continue to support compassionate visits in all of our homes and do everything we can to support families during this period.
For any homes that are experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19, we will continue to support window visits and essential visits in all of our homes, subject to risk assessments.
Booking your visit
For all visits, please continue to book these with your loved one’s home in advance, making sure that you arrive on time for your visit, are well before coming to the home, and follow all infection control measures, including social distancing, regular handwashing, wearing a face mask and wearing additional PPE if required.
Visits involving children and young people aged under 18
We recognise that in some cases it may be difficult for friends and family to make a visit if they are not able to bring children with them. Any visits involving children should be carefully considered. The arrangements for the visit, in particular the numbers involved and where the visit will take place must be planned and agreed with the Home Manager in advance of the visit.
Lateral Flow Testing
If your visit is subject to Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing, and this test is taking place at the care home, we kindly ask that you arrive 30 minutes before your pre-booked visit to ensure that we can accommodate this.
In England and Scotland, if you have completed a LFD test at home, you will need to provide evidence of the negative test result and it must be completed on the same day as the visit to ensure that we can accommodate the visit. It is important to be aware that our homes may be asked or required by third parties to refuse entry if a test is not taken.
In Wales, visitors may now take LFD tests away from the care home, as long as this is agreed in advance with the Home Manager. Visitors must show evidence of a negative COVID-19 LFD test result taken within the 24-hour period preceding the visit. If the visitor is already participating in a regular testing regime as part of their profession, they should show evidence of a negative COVID-19 LFD test result taken within the 72-hour period preceding their visit.
The COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccination is one of our best defences to combat infection risk, as it significantly reduces the transmission of the virus, particularly following two doses. It is not a condition of visiting that the visitors or the Resident should have been vaccinated. However, it is strongly recommended that all visitors and Residents take the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, and to also take up the offer of receiving any subsequent COVID-19 booster vaccinations, if and when they are offered.
Local and national restrictions
Please note, this guidance is subject to change based on the local COVID-19 situation, changes in local and national government guidance or restrictions, and the situation in the care home itself.
We always prioritise the health and wellbeing of Residents, and the Colleagues who care for them, and we are ready to act quickly to respond to rising infection rates and/or any new/revised restrictions imposed by central government or local authorities. This may mean temporarily increasing visiting restrictions as a precautionary measure due to a rise in the number of cases in the local area, or upon the advice of the local Public Health team or national government.
View our HC-One Visiting Guidance by clicking below:
Relatives Visiting Guide
For the latest information on Coronavirus in your area, please visit:
Virtual visits via video:
We’re mindful that some of our Relatives might find it difficult to visit their loved one in person for a number of possible reasons, in these cases we can arrange for a virtual visit by Zoom, or telephone calls if video calls are not suitable.