Last reviewed 11 May 2021

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published supplementary guidance relating to visits where a resident leaves the care home premises, from 4 May 2021.

The guidance was issued following the Government’s announcement that, from 4 May 2021, care home residents will be able to go on outdoor “low-risk” trips such as visiting a friend or relative’s garden or go on walks in places such as parks without having to follow previous rules on Covid-19 quarantining for 14 days on return to the care home.

The DHSC said residents cannot meet up in groups, must be accompanied by either a care worker or one of their two nominated visitors, and they must follow the Government guidelines of washing hands regularly, keeping social distance and remaining outside.

The supplementary guidance should be read in conjunction with Visits Out of Care Homes, also updated on 1 May 2021, here.

When leaving their care home to spend time outdoors, residents may be accompanied by a member of care home staff; one or both of their nominated visitors; or their essential care provider where applicable.

Following a review of the evidence, the supplementary guidance says care homes should discuss arrangements with residents’ nominated visitors, or essential care provider, in advance. Visits should take place solely outdoors, except for the use of toilet facilities, with no visits to indoor spaces, public or private. The exception to this is that residents will be able to access polling stations. And visits should not involve the use of public transport

Where a care home is in a local community with high, or rapidly rising, levels of Covid-19, and/or where there is evidence of variants of concern, care home managers should seek additional local advice from directors of public health.

Where the visit out of the care home includes visiting a polling station, additional measures are outlined, including the need for the resident to be accompanied by a member of care home staff to help facilitate a safe journey, ad the need to adhere to all social distancing measures in place at the polling station.

Where people living in care homes are registered to vote, care providers should take all reasonable steps to support them to do so.

Other visits out of the care home which do not meet the criteria set out in the guidance will need to follow the guidance in Visits Out of Care Homes, including guidance on the need for residents to isolate for 14 days on return to the care home.

The supplementary guidance is available here.