Visiting Protocol COVID-19

Applies to: England

This guidance applies from 17 May 2021 and replaces previous guidance on care home visiting. It applies to care homes for working age and for older adults.

The measures described in this guidance relate to visits with friends and family that take place within care home premises. Guidance relating to visits where the resident leaves the care home premises are described in our visits out of care homes.

Visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care.

This guidance sets out the government’s advice to support safe visiting:

  • every care home resident can nominate up to 5 named visitors who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits (and will be able to visit together or separately as preferred)
  • residents with higher care needs can choose to nominate an essential care giver who may visit the home to attend to essential care needs
  • the 5 named visitors may include an essential care giver (where they have one) but excludes babies and preschool-aged children (as long as this does not breach national restrictions on indoor gatherings)
  • to reduce the risk of infection residents can have no more than 2 visitors at a time or over the course of one day (essential care givers are exempt from this daily limit). The named visitors should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests in line with the testing regime detailed below, should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain social distancing and follow all other infection prevention and control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits. Named visitors and residents are advised to keep physical contact to a minimum (excluding essential care givers). Visitors and residents may wish to hold hands, but should bear in mind that any physical contact increases the risk of transmission. For this reason, there should not be close physical contact, such as hugging
  • residents with higher care needs can also choose to nominate an essential care giver. As set out above, essential care givers are included in the total of 5 named visitors but excluded from the 2 person limit per visit or per day
  • any children visiting (apart from babies and preschool-aged children) should also be counted towards the maximum number allowed for the visit. National restrictions on indoor gatherings must be followed. Find out more about what you can and cannot do
  • to support effective infection prevention and control in care homes, named visitors:
    • should be tested using rapid lateral flow tests in line with their testing regime detailed below and produce a negative COVID test prior to their visit
    • should wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain social distancing and follow all other infection prevention and control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits
  • care homes can also continue to offer visits to other friends or family members through arrangements such as outdoor visiting, rooms with substantial screens, visiting pods, or from behind windows

21.6.21 Added guidance

Care home visits

The guidance depends on whether you are visiting someone in a care home or a resident is having a visit out of the home.

Visits into care homes

Residents are able to nominate five named visitors each, with two visitors being able to visit each day; subject to the visiting arrangements specific to each care home or any local guidance issued by Directors of Public Health.

For visits into care homes, all care home residents will be able to nominate an essential care giver. These essential care givers will be able to visit the care home resident, even if the resident is isolating.

Visitors are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before a visit can take place, and visitors should follow local care home guidance on infection and prevention control measures when visiting a care home.

There is additional guidance on care home visiting.

Added Update 19.07.2021

Guidelines will remain in place until further notice from public health due to the extremely high cases being recorded in England.