Care Homes: Visits

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 10th March 2021.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Chair, Work and Pensions Committee, Chair, Work and Pensions Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to designate Anna Chaplains for Older People as key workers for the purposes of visiting residential care homes; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

We recognise how important visits from chaplains and others who provide religious and spiritual support are for some residents. We have published visiting guidance setting the next step in our cautious opening up of visiting in line with the roadmap, enabling indoor visiting supported by lateral flow device (LFD) testing.

Care home managers are best placed to decide how their care home can deliver the visiting outlined in the guidance in a way that meets the needs of their residents. There is nothing to stop chaplains, ministers of religion or others making visits where residents would like to see them and where the care home manager is content this is in line with the home’s visiting policy based on a dynamic risk assessment.

All visitors must follow infection control measures to keep residents and staff safe. To this end, personal protective equipment is being provided for free until the end of June and care homes have been provided with sufficient LFD tests to ensure that visitors can take a test each time they visit.

On that basis, visits of this type are already enabled.

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