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New rules for visiting care homes

New guidance has been issued by the government in relation to visiting care homes on 2 December 2020 which replaces previous guidance issued.

The government has advised that covid testing kits are being issued to care homes across the country so that visitors can be tested. The kits are being sent out during December and homes should have sufficient quantities to test up to two constant visitors per resident, twice a week, by Christmas. Visits will need to be arranged with care homes in advance in order to enable the testing to take place and to facilitate the additional workload this will create for the homes. It is up to individual homes as to whether they may implement further internal policies on how the system is to operate. Visitors will have to wear personal protective equipment and continue to observe hand hygiene and social distancing measures.

In addition to testing homes will need to continue to review and monitor their risk and infection prevention and control measures. In the event of an outbreak in a care home all visiting should stop.

The care home's visiting policy should be made available and communicated to residents and their families.

For residents in palliative care or end of life care the care home should ensure that the correct visiting arrangements are in place for each resident, facilitating as many visits as possible from family members in a way which is safe and appropriate for the resident.

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