New guidance will allow care home residents to choose a friend or relative as a ‘named visitor’ who will be able to visit them, even during a managed COVID-19 outbreak .
It will allow those living in care homes to continue to have meaningful contact with loved ones, and balance the need for continuing infection prevention and control measures in care homes with the wider wellbeing of residents.
The change will apply to one named visitor when a care home is in a controlled COVID-19 outbreak, and a guidance note has been issued to support care homes to plan for this in consultation with their local Health Protection team.
Revised guidance from Public Health Scotland issued last week has already set out that residents should be able to receive visits from a nominated person even while they are self-isolating as a precaution (i.e. after hospital stays; after being close contacts of a COVID-19 case if fully vaccinated).
Social Care Minister Kevin Stewart MSP has furthermore reaffirmed the SNP Government’s commitment to introducing ‘Anne’s Law’, to enable people who live in care homes to choose a person or persons to support them in their health and wellbeing, as called for by Care Home Relatives Scotland.
A consultation on how best to implement this will be published shortly.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“While we must do all we can to protect care home residents and visitors alike from COVID-19, we are at the stage where we can safely balance the protection of residents against the virus with the all-important need for social contact. It does not now automatically have to be suspended for everyone during an outbreak.
“The proposal for a named visitor will provide continuity of meaningful contact for care home residents in managed COVID-19 outbreak situations, helping to protect residents’ wellbeing in parallel by allowing visiting in a safer way.
“I also look forward to the consultation regarding Anne’s Law, which will help empower care home residents in their decision making regarding their own lives.”
Advice (for residents/family/friends) will shortly be available on NHS inform.