When will care homes open to visitors in England?

Throughout a long, cold winter and a slow start to spring, our teams have been asked the question ‘Are care homes visits allowed?’ more times than we can remember. The COVID-19 threat has inevitably had an impact on the visits and excursions our residents love, there’s no surprise that they’ve been anxious for a return to something approaching normality. As of May 17th, the fantastic news for residents and their families and friends is that England’s care homes are open to visitors.

There are, however, still limits and restrictions, plus strict infection avoidance procedures to follow to keep our residents safe. At Boutique Care Homes, we have introduced rules for visits based on the government’s guidance but with additional emphasis on reducing potential exposure to risk. Our approach enables us to take all the time we need over precautionary measures and to limit visitor numbers to a rate that’s both low-risk and manageable for staff. 

Government guidelines for visits to care homes

The UK government’s guidelines for care home visits are updated regularly. As of the 17th June, the advice states that care home residents can have up to five named visitors, with no more than two allowed to visit at the same time on any one day. Babies and toddlers do not count towards that limit. 

Those named visitors can visit residents in their own room, with no need for a screen between them.

Some residents may have a support need that isn’t provided by the care home, in which case it is possible to have an additional visitor – the essential care giver – who can visit more frequently, but with subject to the same testing and PPE requirements as care home employees.

Visitors who aren’t named visitors can still make outdoor visits, window visits or visits in our visiting pods.

All care home visitors must complete a rapid lateral flow device test (LFD test) before being allowed into the home and must be supplied with personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Boutique rules for visiting our care homes

Our priority is the safety of our residents. We’re also very mindful of the increased transmission risk of the Delta variant. For these reasons, we have elected to restrict visitor numbers overall to the five named friends or relatives for each resident. We’re delighted to be able to allow screenless visits in individual rooms, and holding hands is allowed, but we advise strongly against any closer physical contact, even while wearing the PPE we will supply you with. When the weather is dry and where suitable, we’re always keen to arrange outdoor visits in our lovely gardens, where any risk is reduced even further and everybody gets the benefit of fresh air and a bit of exercise!

We’re restricting total visits to no more than two at a time for a maximum of an hour, and no more than three times per week for each visitor. We’d love it to be for longer and as many times as you like, but we do need to make sure that all our residents get to spend quality time with loved ones, while still providing the safest environment we can. We’ve also set up safe pods for visits.  Unlike visits by nominated individuals, pod visits must be pre-booked.

All visitors need to arrive 30-45 minutes before your visit time, to allow us to administer the LFD test (results take 30 minutes to come through) and provide you with suitable PPE.

Of course, in the unlikely event that we have a COVID outbreak, or if the government rules change, visits may be suspended until the situation changes for the better.

End-of-life visits

End-of-life visits are not subject to the same rules as the usual meet-ups between family and friends. Except in the most unusual circumstances, any care home will make every effort to enable safe but reassuring and regular visits from friends and family for anyone in palliative care. 

Book your care home visit

To book an appointment to visit your loved one in a secure pod, please contact Brampton Manor on 01638 597 130 or The Burlington on 01932 220 338 or by email at mail.boutiquecarehomes.co.uk not forgetting to mention which resident and home you wish to visit. We’re looking forward to seeing you!


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