Joy for care homes with visits set to be unlimited again

Care home bosses have welcomed the changes to Covid-19 restrictions in England, with unlimited visitors allowed from next week.

Care home residents will be able to have unlimited visits from family and friends
Care home residents will be able to have unlimited visits from family and friends

From January 31, those living in care homes will be able to have unlimited visits from family and friends as the country moves towards living with coronavirus.

Meanwhile self-isolation periods will also be cut from 14 to 10 days as the relaxation to Plan B rules comes into force.

Care homes will also only have to follow outbreak management rules for 14 rather than 28 days.

The changes have been welcomed by care homes and supporting bodies and have been described as great news for residents.

Davinder Kaur, care home manager at Valley Court Care Home in Cradley Heath, said: "Our residents are over the moon that there are no limits on the visiting, after previously being limited to three.

"We welcome the reduction in isolation times as well, as the residents are out of their rooms and back into communal living the better.

"The changes help with staff as well, staffing has been huge issue, and this will help ease it, most homes have had this issue.

"Reducing the isolation period is a huge benefit for this.

"I think as long as we continue with an appointment system it safeguards the home, we have a system where visitors call before they come, to avoid too many people coming at the same time.

"We are still going to maintain distancing where possible, not with family members, but cross-families.

"But as long as the appointment system continues, from a staffing point of view it is a plus for us.

Changes to outbreak management rules have also been welcomed and described as more applicable to the Omicron variant.

Davinder added: "We think that the changes are more realistic to put in place and beneficial to resident and staff.

"It is very isolating for residents when they have to be alone, and unnecessary too, as the new variant is coming out of people's systems quicker."

Parklands Court Nursing Home in Walsall has also moved to welcome the rule changes.

Home manager Patrice Nash said: "We are absolutely delighted with the significant easing of visitor restrictions for care homes like ours, from next Monday.

"This is a crucial next step back to full normality for Parklands Care Home, knowing that any number of visitors can now visit their loved one at any one time will be beneficial to their mental wellbeing.

"It’s also great news that our residents can now go out into the local community without the requirement to test on their return.

"For some residents this can be quite a disruptive experience and without it, life feels that much more normal and familiar once more."

Meanwhile care home staff across Wolverhampton have been thanked for getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

Wolverhampton Council have said that 98 per cent of staff have had at least two doses of the vaccine, which was made a mandatory requirement by the Government from November for anyone entering residential care homes for work purposes.

Councillor Linda Leach, Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for adult services, said: "It was really important for care home workers to get their Covid-19 vaccination if they could, to help protect residents who are at higher risk from this deadly virus.

"And the response from care workers in Wolverhampton has been magnificent, with 98 per cent of staff vaccinated.

"As a result any disruption that the requirement for staff to be vaccinated might have caused to care providers has been kept to a minimum."

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