To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of reduced visitor access on the levels of (a) loneliness and (b) mental ill health of care home residents since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.
New visiting arrangements started on 8 March. Our guidance states that each resident can nominate one named person who can have regular, indoor visits. Those residents with the highest care needs can also nominate an “Essential Care Giver”. These visitors will be able to visit more often in order to provide essential care.
Visiting arrangements that have been available throughout the period of national lockdown should continue i.e. using screens, visiting pods, behind windows or outdoors. Visits in exceptional circumstances including end of life should always be supported and enabled.
We are working with the National Health Service, Public Health England and others to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the coming weeks and months.