What steps should providers take to mitigate risk of infection during the visit?
Providers need to make a careful, individual dynamic risk assessment, factoring in
the needs of the resident, other care home residents and the nature of the intended
visit. This may include:
- What is the level of care needed for the resident, who will provide this and is
appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) available and able to be
correctly used? If the level of care increases the time household members
would need to spend within 2 metres of the individual, then a visit out of the
care home, would potentially increase the risk of infection to both the
vulnerable resident and the family.
- What activities are planned in the visit? (indoor/outdoor)
- How will the resident be supported to socially distance, maintain hand hygiene
and use face coverings where possible / indicated?
- Is there a good level of ventilation? (frequent opening of windows)
- Consideration will need to be given to the implications of the resident
developing symptoms or a member of the household they are visiting
developing symptoms during the visit. This may mean that the individual
cannot return immediately to the care home, or in the case of children, will
need to isolate when returning to the care home. Would the family be in a
position to provide care during the isolation period if the care home was
unwilling or unable to care for the resident?
- Length of visit- overnight stays and visits over multiple days will increase the
risk. Short, non-overnight stays are preferable. It may be decided that a
planned visit to the care home would be a safer option.
What steps should the individual and their family take to mitigate risk?
Families need to agree with their loved one and the care home provider on a safe
plan for the visit. These discussions should include the consequences of infecting
the resident and the risk of transmission to others in the care home.
The rules relating to indoor gatherings permit only two extended households to meet
for the duration of the Lockdown. However the key measure to protect a
vulnerable family member is to limit the number of contacts as much as possible –
consider minimising the number of households involved to one plus the care home
resident and avoid large numbers and overcrowding.
Do we have to use PPE at the family home?
No, but it is essential that visits are supported by good infection control. This
includes social distancing, frequent hand hygiene and consideration of face
coverings. Mouth and nose should be covered when sneezing or coughing and
tissues disposed of immediately and hand hygiene should follow. Surfaces should
also be frequently wiped down.
Should family members be tested in advance of the visit?
No, testing of family members before a visit is not recommended. It is more
important for families to prepare for the proposed visit by limiting their own contacts
in the days before the visit and preparing for the possibility of the visit being
cancelled if any of the family are notified that they have been a contact of infection or
develop any symptoms.
Outward visits from care homes should not go ahead if any of the household hosting
the visit are advised to self-isolate by Test Trace Protect, have returned from
international travel requiring self-isolation in the last 10 days, or have developed
symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
If members of the family have symptoms, they should follow the guidance for testing
Can window visits take place at a home where there is an outbreak of COVID-
Window visits could take place in home where there is an outbreak if:
- this could be supported by the care home staff;
- the layout of the care home means visitors do not enter the home; and
- the resident is able to come to a window without exposing other vulnerable
residents if infected, or being exposed to infected residents.