The Government acknowledges the drafted regulations and responded to the Joint Committee on Human Rights regarding them on 22 February 2021. Although we have considered using these regulations to help allow care home visiting, we have decided to pursue non-legislative routes, which allow us to move more swiftly in changing circumstances and to accommodate all care homes.
We recognise the very significant impact that restricting visiting in care homes and mental health settings has had on residents, their family and loved ones.
We are taking a carefully balanced, step-by-step approach to opening up more visiting opportunities. New visiting arrangements started on 8 March and every care home should enable each resident to nominate one named person who can make regular, indoor visits.
Those residents with the highest care needs can also nominate an “Essential Care Giver” who will be able to visit more often in order to provide essential care. They will have the same testing and personal protective equipment arrangements as care home staff.
Our guidance makes clear that care homes should support this visiting as the default. We are working with the care home sector to encourage and enable care homes to do so.