Care homes prepare to welcome back visitors
PUBLISHED: 08:04 23 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:51 30 July 2020
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The government has confirmed that visits to care homes will be resuming soon and is expected to issue further guidance later this week for families and friends desperate to visit their loved ones.
The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed visits will resume in specific care homes once local directors of public health and councils decide it is safe to do so.
Further guidance is due to be released by the government this week - but David Finch, chairman of the Suffolk Association of Independent Care Providers, has welcomed the news after many months of isolation for care home residents.
“The timing is in line with what hospitals are doing, as they recently started allowing visitors,” he said.
“It just seems crazy you can go to the pub or cinema but not visit a loved one at a care home.
“If done properly, then there is no reason why it shouldn’t be safe for people.
“Otherwise we are discriminating against those in care homes who haven’t been able to see loved ones for months.”
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Mr Finch thinks the upcoming government guidance will be similar to that already issued and revolve around risk assessments involving social distancing, face coverings and ventilation.
It is also likely that many care homes will introduce booking systems to regulate the number of visitors on the premises at one time, much like many entertainment venues have done.
Mr Finch added: “Sadly, some families may see a change in their loved ones after the months of isolation even with all of the effort from the care homes to provide other interactions.
“It has had a massive impact on the residents’ mental health not being able to see anyone for so long.”
Matt Hancock, health secretary and West Suffolk MP, said: “I know how painful it has been for those in care homes not being able to receive visits from their loved ones throughout this period.
“We are now able to carefully and safely allow visits to care homes, which will be based on local knowledge and circumstances for each care home.
“It is really important that we don’t undo all of the hard work of care homes over the last few months while ensuring families and friends can be safely reunited, so we have put in place guidance that protects everyone.”
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