To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) allowing self-isolating individuals to visit family members in care homes who are suffering from isolation and (b) facilitating care home residents to visit covid-secure family homes.
We recognise how important it is to allow care home residents to meet their loved ones safely, and appreciate the particular challenges visiting restrictions pose for people with dementia, learning disabilities and autistic adults, amongst others and their loved ones.
In the face of a new variant of the virus we have acted to protect those most at risk in care homes and ensure visits can go ahead safely in some form. As set out in national lockdown guidance, visits to care homes can continue to take place with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not currently allowed. Visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be supported and enabled.
We have also published guidance on visits out of care homes such as to the family home during this period of this national lockdown. People, including care home residents, must stay at home and must not gather indoors unless one of the specified exemptions apply. This means that a resident will not in general be able to meet another household indoors, for example, visiting their family in the family’s home.
We are keeping all our guidance under regular review, and will seek to provide further opportunities for families to visit and spend time together as it becomes safer to do so.