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BASW England response to changes in care home visiting guidelines

The guidance, which comes into effect today (8 March 2021), applies to care homes for working age and older adults.

BASW England welcomes changes to the care home visiting guidance which was updated on 5 March 2021.[1] The revisions include:

  • Each person living or staying in a care home being able to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits. 
  • Safe access will be promoted through access to lateral flow testing prior to visits taking place alongside use of PPE and other infection control measures to be used during visits. Hand holding to be considered and weighed in the balance that any contact increases the risk of infection. 
  • People with the highest care needs to be able to nominate an essential caregiver.
  • Visits to other friends or family members to continue with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.     

BASW recognises the value and importance of working in partnership with families, friends, carers and providers and is aligned with organisations that have been and continue to advocate for their safe access to care settings.

The guidance, which comes into effect today (8 March 2021), applies to care homes for working age and older adults. The reinforcement of the role and perspective of social workers in supporting providers with holistic risk assessments and decisions about visiting is both timely and useful.

Whilst the changes are a positive step in the right direction, further action is needed to ensure that the Right to Private and Family Life: Article 8 Human Rights Act is upheld. 

The guidance which applies to providers of supported living, remains unchanged from 22 February 2021. This provides information about visits with support bubbles and indoor visiting. 

Test, Safe Access, Rights campaign

Social workers continue to voice that they remain unable to visit people in care homes even when access to regular lateral flow testing is in place. This has been the situation for nearly the past 12 months with social workers having to rely heavily on third party often limited information to make professional judgements affecting people’s lives. 

Please continue to support our campaign to ensure social workers can respond to the human rights challenges of Covid 19, safeguard and promote the wellbeing of people and families:

* Find out more

* Watch the campaign video

* Stay up to date

  [1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visiting-care-homes-during-coronavirus/update-on-policies-for-visiting-arrangements-in-care-homes