England Eases Care Home Covid Restrictions
As of Monday 31st January 2022, England eased its Care Home Restrictions.
There is no limit on the number of visitors allowed per resident at any one time as well as there being a reduction in self-isolation times for Care and Nursing Homes as a result of the successful Covid booster rollout.
At the end of January, it is predicted that over 80% of care home residents have now received their booster vaccinations and this, along with the balance of residents mental wellbeing and needing to see their loved ones again have resulted in the changes.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that as of 31st January, England will remove the Plan B restrictions that required care homes to follow an isolation period of 28 days and this has now been replaced with a 14 day isolation period.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid “Thanks to the progress we have made, I am delighted that care home restrictions can now be eased further allowing residents to see more of their loved ones.”
In its announcement, the DHSC stated the ‘changes will ensure those providing and receiving care are kept safe while increasing freedoms for residents’.
- It will no longer be necessary to test or isolate residents after a normal outing
- Care home and nursing home residents who have to self-isolate after an emergency hospital stay will be isolated for 10 to 14 days at most
Covid-positive individuals will have their self-isolation periods reduced from 14 to 10 days, and further reductions if they test negative on days 5 and 6. However, there is a feeling that the government hasn’t done enough to ease the lives of residents
Self-isolation in Care Homes
The rules on self-isolation in care homes have changed. The self-isolation period for residents is now 10 days. It is possible for residents to end their self-isolation earlier than 10 days, subject to a risk assessment and negative rapid lateral flow test results. Please see below for more information.
Information sourced here.
All residents must self-isolate for 10 days if:
- they test positive for COVID-19, regardless of whether they are symptomatic or asymptomatic
- they have symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting a PCR test result to confirm their COVID-19 status (if they receive a negative PCR test, they no longer need to self-isolate – however, they may have another illness, and clinical advice should be sought)
- they are a contact of a person with COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate regardless of vaccination status – see section 1.8 for more information
- they have been discharged following an unplanned overnight hospital stay
- following a risk assessment, they are required to self-isolate due to one of the reasons outlined in section 1
The director of social care at the Institute of Health and Social Care Management, Adam Purnell who was once a Care Home Manager, believes more needs to be done about care home visits.
Adam Purnell said: “unlimited visitors “sounds great” but “if draconian booking systems remain, it won’t make a difference. Time for more open visiting.”
(@AdamDPurnell), Mr Adam Purnell tweeted: “Visiting must start to include unlimited bedroom visits, a move towards communal visiting, no time restrictions and parity in evening and weekends.”
He also stated that he believed “isolation must match that of society, not 10 days”.
From 16th February, all care workers in England will be required to take lateral flow tests before their shifts rather than weekly asymptomatic PCR tests.
Caroline Abrahams, the charity director at Age UK, said: “some care homes are “keener than others” on normal visiting and also warns “rolling outbreaks” could continue”.
She said: “It’s really good news that the restrictions on care home visiting are being eased, but there’s also a risk that the government rhetoric is ahead of the reality that many older people and their loved ones will actually experience over the next few days and weeks.
“There are still significant numbers of COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes and although the closure period in these situations is being reduced, it is likely that some homes will continue to experience ‘rolling outbreaks’, keeping them closed.”
She also warned that even though the guidance has been eased, some care providers may lack the staff to provide the supervision for normal visiting to resume.
“Some care home operators are a lot keener than others on visiting. There’s no reason to suppose that this will suddenly be changed by this new guidance and, in the end, these decisions are the responsibility of care home and nursing home, owners and managers, as the government has repeatedly pointed out.”
The Department Of Health & Social Care (DHSC) has stated that UK Health Security Agency data indicates that the booster is 92 per cent effective in preventing hospitalization two weeks after it is administered.
Care minister Gillian Keegan said: “The changes announced today are backed by scientists, ensuring we all have more freedoms from coronavirus, including care home residents and their families.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said the changes will ensure those providing and receiving care are kept safe while increasing freedoms for residents.
“I know how vital companionship is to those living in care homes and the positive difference visits make, which is why we continued to allow three named visitors and an essential caregiver under Plan B measures,” added Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
“Thanks to the progress we have made, I am delighted that care home restrictions can now be eased further allowing residents to see more of their loved ones.”
New guidance on visiting, isolation, and testing will be published in due course.
Diane Mayhew, co-founder of the Rights for Residents campaign group said she will continue to campaign for Gloria’s Law to enshrine the right of every resident to nominate an essential caregiver in law ”because restrictions can change at any minute”.
“We need to make sure that we are legally able to provide that support that residents so need for their mental health and wellbeing.”
Bristol Care Homes has and will continue to review its procedures to ensure all necessary precautions are taken to protect its residents and staff.
We are delighted for our residents in light of the recent changes and we are getting back to some normality with our residents loved ones, family and friends visiting.
If you would like to find out more about any of our Nursing Homes in Bristol please contact us here and one of our team members will be in contact to answer any questions you may have or we can arrange a visit or a meeting with you.
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