Care home visitors who test negative ‘can hug loved ones by Christmas’
Up to two visitors will receive twice-weekly tests by Christmas, the Government said in its Covid-19 winter plan.
Relatives of care home residents in England will be able to hug their loved ones before Christmas if they test negative for coronavirus and wear protective equipment, the Government has pledged.
The Government said it is committed to providing twice-weekly testing to up to two visitors by Christmas, and care home staff will receive twice-weekly tests by the end of December.
And testing of residents will be increased in December to once a week.
Currently, staff are tested weekly and residents are tested monthly, with a pilot scheme in around 20 homes in England seeing visitors receive regular tests.
The Government has previously said it aims to expand the pilot across England before Christmas.
But care home provider groups have said the Government must rapidly make more funds available if it is to make good this pledge.
Its winter plan, published on Monday, reads: “The Government is committed, by Christmas, to providing twice weekly testing to enable all care home residents to have regular visits from up to two visitors.
“If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and follows other infection control measures, then it will be possible for visitors to have physical contact with their loved one, such as providing personal care, holding hands and hugging.”
The Government said detailed guidance will be published shortly.
Fiona Carragher, director of research and influencing at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “After eight harrowing months filled with devastation and tragic loss of life, we’re relieved that the Prime Minister has recognised the importance of family carers allowing up to two visitors per resident, tested twice a week.
“However, we need to keep up momentum with weekly updates on the testing pilot as it mustn’t be used as an excuse to delay national rollout – people shouldn’t have to wait until Christmas.”
Care England chief executive Professor Martin Green said: “There is a lot of progress and reasons to be positive, however there are certainly a lot of challenges, some easier than others.”
He added: “The news about visiting is positive, but again an array of issues that need to be thought through and we cannot be too hasty with people’s lives at stake.”
The Government also said it will introduce legislation requiring care home providers to restrict “all but essential” movement of staff between settings with the aim of reducing transmission.
It follows a week-long consultation period, which ended on Monday, during which care provider groups warned that it will be difficult to implement the measures.
Vic Rayner, director of the National Care Forum, said the proposals would be “really challenging to implement”.
Care England said it will create a “host of unintended consequences”, including accentuating the issue of staff shortages and affecting staff mental health and levels of fatigue.
The membership body believes increased testing for staff would mean there would be no need to limit staff movement.
Prof Green said: “It is inconceivable that on the very day that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) closed its consultation for the movement of staff the Government announced legislation by the end of the year to prohibit movement. We need to get to the bottom of this as something has gone awry”.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- Felicity Kendal joins cast of musical Anything Goes - January 22, 2021
- Study: Over-50s’ mental health declined during lockdowns - January 22, 2021
- Michelle Pfeiffer to play Betty Ford in First Lady anthology series - January 22, 2021
- 7 simple bakes using ingredients you’ve already got in the cupboard - January 22, 2021
- Why exercising for 2 minutes every half hour could be all you need to do - January 22, 2021
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!