Covid-19 – care home visiting
The Government has today, 22 July 2020, published guidance on visits to care homes. This had been anticipated for some time, but in view of the delay, previous guidance had been issued by the Care Providers Association (“CPA”).
The guidance has been issued in the context of a reduction in the rate of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus and a recognition of the importance of visits for care home residents. However, the guidance is very general and makes it plain that the policy to be adopted should be considered for each home, taking account of the specific circumstances of that home and the local community circumstances (including epidemiological risk and the level of virus transmission).
The Government guidance refers to the earlier CPA guidance but makes it clear that ultimately decisions on the policy to adopt for any particular care home “is an operational decision and therefore ultimately for the provider and managers of each individual setting to make“.
The guidance makes it plain that local directors of public health should express views on the infection risk in the locality and this should be taken into account when formulating visiting policies. The guidance provides advice on social distancing, face coverings and PPE, making it plain that these will be service specific. Interestingly, it suggests visits should be limited to one visitor, preferably the same person each time.
Providers will clearly wish to review the guidance carefully and implement their own visiting policy, which should be published to residents and their relatives.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.