In a positive step towards normality for care home residents, the latest lockdown restriction easing roadmap set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson will soon permit a regular indoor visitor for residents.
The scheme has been announced as a way of improving conditions for those in care homes, many of whom are elderly and have been - understandably due to being at greater risk - kept largely isolated from friends and relatives.
Under the new scheme every resident will have the opportunity to name one individual, who will be required to have a test beforehand, wear PPE during the visit and where possible avoid close contact.
This registered visitor would be able to make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions in order to ensure residents, staff and visitors all remain safe.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know how important visiting a loved one is and I’m pleased we will soon be in a position for people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes.
“This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be. We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step-by-step way in the future.”
During national lockdown, restrictions have been in place across social care settings, particularly around care home visitation, in order to protect vulnerable residents.
Although coronavirus cases remain high in the UK at present, the number of infections appears to be on a downward trajectory.
According to the Prime Minister, as he made the announcement of the new roadmap for easing restrictions, this is in large part due to the UK’s rapid progress with its national vaccination programme, which has already seen every care home resident in the country offered a vaccine jab and almost 17 million vaccinations carried out across a number of at-risk priority groups.