A government requirement for care home residents to isolate for 14 days following external trips has come under criticism.
While welcoming updated care home visiting guidance, including the allowance of two visitors as well as small children, the Independent Care Group (ICG) said the 14-day isolation requirement following trips was “excessive”.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham (pictured): “These changes will bring great benefits to people in care and nursing homes and to their families. They are welcome steps towards normality and provided they are handled with care will bring a lot of pleasure.
“But I do believe the need for 14 days’ isolation in all cases after a trip out is excessive.
“Yes, if a group of people are mixing with others during an outing, then some form of isolation might be necessary to mitigate any risk of COVID-19 being spread in a home of vulnerable people.
“But where a group of people go out together, in a minibus for example, don’t mix with anyone other than each other, who they live with all day every day, then it does seem to me that isolation, particularly for such a long period, might be unnecessary.
“I think the government should give homes the flexibility to judge each case on its merits and decide what level of isolation is needed following a trip out, otherwise there is a risk that it might not be worth doing.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We understand contact with family and friends is central to the health and wellbeing of residents, and we are doing everything we can to provide safe opportunities to meet.
“As part of the roadmap out of lockdown we have updated guidance for care homes to support residents to enjoy out of care home visits in the safest way possible, while also providing more opportunities for visits to take place in care homes. When the data shows it is safe, the government wants to go even further and allow more visits to take place.”