The Guidance in force after 2 December 2020 is available here and can be used to remind care home providers of their legal obligations.
The Guidance provides that:
- Blanket bans on visits are not permitted.
- Care Homes must carry out individualised risk assessments regarding visits in line with their legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and Human Rights Act 1998. This means that they have to take an individualised approach and consider where visits are needed/what type of visit is most appropriate and how they can be facilitated.
- Care homes should be working with residents and families to strike a good balance between the benefits of visiting for residents’ health and wellbeing and quality of life; and the infection risk that arises.
- Visitor testing is being made available and is the preferred option of advancing infection control, though it operates alongside other infection control measures.
The Guidance makes it clear that: “providers should facilitate visiting as described in the guidance wherever it is possible to do so” and should undertake individualised risk assessments, “to assess the rights and needs of individual residents, as well as any specific vulnerabilities which are outlined in the resident’s care plan, and to consider the role that visiting can play in this”.