Lancashire’s care home residents can now nominate one person to visit them regularly following new Government guidance, which came into effect on 8 March 2021.
Named visitors will be able to go inside the home, see their friend or family member in person and even hold hands.
They must wear personal protective equipment and have had a negative Covid-19 test result before each visit they make to ensure they do not have coronavirus. However, it is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the resident should have been vaccinated.
This move, which is part of the national coronavirus road map, means residents will experience a level of interaction with a friend, family member or loved one, which hasn’t been possible for almost a year.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services, said: “It’s absolutely vital our care home residents have visits from their friends and family and we welcome the Government’s decision to allow a named visitor to see a care home resident in person.
“This is a huge step forward and means that people will be able to interact with their loved ones, friends or other family members and even hold hands for the first time in months.
“Reducing the spread of coronavirus is still vitally important. The named visitors must wear PPE and have had a negative test result beforehand. The care homes will still have all social distancing and enhanced cleaning measures in place.
“We will be allowing these visits in all 16 county council run care homes for older people and are encouraging and supporting independent care providers to do the same in the more than 400 care homes they run across Lancashire.”
Although only one named person will be allowed to visit each resident regularly, there are alternative options for other visitors.
County Councillor Gooch added “Although only one named visitor will be allowed indoors, we also have measures in place to allow other people to visit care home residents. These include screens, visiting pods and floor-to-ceiling windows which ensure the infection can’t be passed between residents and visitors.
“However, if the care home has an outbreak, the national guidance remains that visits must stop in all but exceptional circumstances.”
All care providers must follow the Government’s care home visiting guidance.