Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, has expressed “immense frustration” over the continued delay to care home visitor guidance.
While the Scottish government announced its guidance for care home visits last month, care homes in England are still awaiting guidelines.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, (pictured) said: “We are at a loss to know why the Department of Health and Social Care is incapable of making swift decisions at a time of crisis. As the country unlocks, care providers are in the dark as to what is permissible in terms of visitors to their residents, or indeed residents leaving their homes on visits. This should have been a priority for the DHSC given that care homes are central to fighting this dreadful pandemic.
“In the absence of government guidance, on 10 June Care England published its own statement on visitation for learning disability providers. We supported a separate CPA document for providers for older people too. However, with new changes to shielding and the wider lifting of lockdown we now need a national framework led by government to support the complex steps to normality for care home residents.”
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said: “Throughout this pandemic it has been our priority to protect care home staff and residents.
“Our guidance on visitors has always been informed by the latest evidence available at the time and we will continue to review our guidance based on emerging evidence.
“We understand the significant challenges visiting limitations place on care homes and the difficulties faced by many families and residents who want to see their loved ones but the safety of residents must come first.”
Under current recommendations, care homes are advised to limit unnecessary visits. The DHSC advises that end of life visits should continue with appropriate infection control precautions.