Scottish Government signals easing of restrictions on visiting care homes

Care home residents will soon be able to receive visitors outdoors, subject to various infection control measures remaining in place.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 2:20 pm
Outdoor meetings may soon take place with a single nominated visitor, provided face masks are worn for the duration of the visit. Photo: John Devlin
Outdoor meetings may soon take place with a single nominated visitor, provided face masks are worn for the duration of the visit. Photo: John Devlin

New guidance from the Scottish Government confirms that from next month the next phase of visiting will permit outdoor meetings with a single nominated visitor, provided face masks are worn for the duration of the visit. Currently only essential visits, including end of life care, are permitted.

This is a step towards further easing of restrictions including controlled indoor visits and wider use of communal areas by residents.

In order to be able to permit visits, a care home must have had no cases of coronavirus during the pandemic, or for no residents to have had symptoms for at least 28 days.

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Health secretary Jeane Freeman said:  “I fully appreciate that the necessary restrictions placed on care homes have been challenging for the people living in care homes, their loved ones, and the staff.

“Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes, and it is now important that we find safe ways for residents to reconnect with their families and friends.

“Significant progress is being made and we are continuing to see improvements with fewer care homes currently having an infection. On that basis, we can now see a phased return to visiting in care homes when and where it is clinically safe to do so.

“It is crucial that we do this incrementally and proceed with real caution to protect vulnerable residents and staff. Only outside visiting with a named key visitor using appropriate physical distancing and safety measures can be permitted from July 3.

“When the scientific advice states that it is safe to do so, we can then gradually open up further visiting options.

“Today’s publication will be important news for families with loved ones in care homes. I recognise how long people have been waiting to see their friends and families and I hope to be able to offer further updates in the coming weeks in order to reconnect even more loved ones.”