Care home residents will be allowed five named visitors from Monday, 17 May, as part of the government’s easing of lockdown restrictions.
The increase in the number of family members or friends able to visit their loved ones in care homes from two to five follows a reduction in COVID-19 cases and the ongoing successful vaccine roll-out with 95% of older care home residents receiving their first jab.
In further measures, residents will be able to go to medical appointments, a workplace, educational setting and day centres without having to self-isolate on their return.
Visits will also be paused for a minimum of 14 days rather than 28 days following an outbreak.
Minister for Care, Helen Whately, (pictured) said: “The measures we have taken during this pandemic have always been to protect our most vulnerable, but I have heard first-hand from those living and working in care homes how difficult the restrictions have been.
“Thanks to the phenomenal success of the vaccine rollout and a reduction in cases across the country, I am pleased we can now take another step towards getting back to normal, while protecting those in care homes from the continued risk of COVID-19.
“The new guidance allows more family and friends to reunite and reduces the need to self-isolate, which I know many have found incredibly challenging. As we turn the tide on this cruel virus I want to make visiting as normal as possible by the summer, and this is an important step on that path.”
Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said: “These changes are welcome, but they are baby steps forward for those living in care whilst the rest of the country leaps ahead with a raft of measures to lift lockdown.
“Some of the changes are not even a step forward at all, but merely bring an end to terrible policies which have been imposed only on care users – like dropping the two week quarantine after medical appointments, which has prevented many older people from accessing vital healthcare. We urgently need a strategy from the government for re-opening care homes to stop residents being left behind.”