Last reviewed 22 July 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has updated its guidance, Visits Out of Care Homes, in line with Step Four of the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap, which came into place on 19 July 2021.

Care home residents are now allowed to go on outdoor “low-risk" trips without having to quarantine for 14 days on their return. Residents must be accompanied by either a care worker or a nominated visitor while on the trip, must remain outside and follow all other social distancing and safety guidelines.

Visits that are deemed to be high risk, such as an overnight stay at a hospital or visits assessed to be high-risk following an individual risk assessment, will still require a 14-day isolation period after returning to the care home.

This remains under review, and the DHSC hopes to amend guidance on self-isolation following overnight stays in hospital as soon as the data and evidence show it is safe.

Separate guidance, Admission and Care of Residents in a Care Home During Covid-19, explains what to do when new residents are admitted to a care home, when residents are discharged to a care home from hospital or another care facility and isolation requirements for all new admissions.

New people moving into care homes will no longer have to isolate for 14 days on arrival but they must undergo an enhanced testing regime which includes a PCR test before admission, a PCR test on the day of admission and a further PCR test seven days later. Admissions from the community into a care home are able to take a test up to 72 hours in advance.

All newly-admitted residents to a care home who have been discharged from hospital, from an interim care facility or transferring from another care home, should self-isolate, upon arrival, for 14 days, within their own room.

Essential care givers, where a resident has one, are able to visit residents during their isolation period.

The guidance says that, during their 14-day self-isolation period, all residents who both are well enough and wish to should still be supported to leave their room to go outdoors if the care home has outside space, without restarting their isolation period. “Outdoors” means within the boundaries of the care home’s grounds and is subject to carefully considered risk assessments that take into account the safety of the resident and other residents within the care home.

Residents who are symptomatic or have tested positive for Covid-19 should not go outdoors.