Guidance: Visiting arrangements in care homes

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Department Of Health


This guidance is for directors of public health, care providers and others who will be involved in planning to enable visits to care homes. It sets out:

  • an overview of the visiting practices supported by this guidance
  • advice for providers when establishing their visiting policy
  • advice for providers when taking visiting decisions for particular residents or groups of residents
  • advice on delivering safe visiting, with and without testing
  • information on visiting in exceptional circumstances such as end of life
Published 22 July 2020
Last updated 4 May 2021 +show all updates

  1. Updated the summary of guidance for visitors to include changes to PPE advice.

  2. Corrected to reflect that named visitors should be tested using rapid LFTs on the day of every visit.

  3. Updated ‘Guidance on care home visiting’ and ‘Summary of guidance for visitors’ to reflect the availability of self-testing for visitors.

  4. Updated ‘Guidance on care home visiting’, ‘Summary of guidance for visitors’ and ‘Visiting arrangements: one-page overview’ to reflect that from 12 April, each care home resident can name up to 2 people who can come for regular indoor visits. In the ‘Guidance on care home visiting’, updated the section on essential care givers and added a new section on visits involving children and young people aged under 18.

  5. Updated ‘Guidance on care home visiting’ to say that being on the Shielded Patient List does not prevent a care home resident from receiving visitors.

  6. Added a one-page overview of the guidance.

  7. The guidance has been replaced with a new version to reflect the announcements in the roadmap published on 22 February (COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021) for the next phase in opening up care home visiting. Added a new document: ‘Summary of guidance for visitors’.

  8. Guidance updated in line with the national restrictions introduced on 6 January. Deleted 2 attachments summarising the guidance.

  9. Updated guidance about visiting in respect of Tier 4, in the ‘Overview of visiting practice supported by this guidance’ section.

  10. Updated in line with restrictions that will apply from 2 December and added a summary of the guidance.

  11. The guidance has been updated to reflect visiting arrangements in care homes while national restrictions are in place.

  12. Updated guidance with reference to local COVID alert levels and measures set out in the adult social care winter plan.

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