Alzheimer's Society responds to new care home visiting guidance

New guidance has been released to allow relatives and friends to visit loved ones living in care homes.

Under new guidance published by the Department of Health and Social Care today, care home residents will start to be reunited with their friends and family as care homes will be able to begin visits again following local risk assessments.

However there is no promise of regular, repeated testing for designated family carers.

  • Local Directors of Public Health will make decisions on care home visits.
  • Thorough risk assessments will take place based on specific care homes and the community context. 
  • Visits will be conducted with the appropriate precautions, such as face coverings, and social distancing measures to minimise the risk of infection. 

Kate Lee, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'For someone with dementia in residential care, that care home is their home. And like all of us, they have a human right to see the people they love.  

'This is well-considered guidance - it’s really good to see the Government acknowledge the importance of family carers, and we’re pleased they included and listened to people with dementia by involving us.

'However, it’s the job of local teams to make this happen - we’re very concerned that there’s no central accountability for local decision-makers, which may well mean that nothing will change.

Before lockdown, family carers were supporting their loved ones with dementia to eat and drink, brushing their teeth when no one else could, keeping them alive.

They need the same regular, repeated testing a Key Worker would have, seen as equal partners in care, so they can be back at the side of their loved ones.

'With a massive 52 per cent increase in non-virus related deaths, getting family carers safely back in homes is a matter of life and death for people with dementia.'

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