Only three guests allowed under new strict Covid-19 care home rules

Tight new controls will be in place from next week despite high vaccination levels (Image: Reuters)

Restrictions on care homes are ‘almost back’ as they were during the first lockdown.

New measures are being put in place for people visiting residential healthcare facilities in an effort stop the Omicron outbreak among the most vulnerable.

Only three visitors and one essential care worker will be allowed to see the residents under strict controls announced by the health ministry.

Fully immunized residents visiting family and friends outside the care home will be required to perform lateral flow checks on alternate days for two weeks following each outing, while those who are not vaccinated will have to isolate after an outside examination.

Staff testing will be increased from two lateral flow checks per week to three, along with a weekly PCR test.

It is understood the guidance will go into effect Wednesday and, according to officials, is designed to ‘balance the current Covid-19 risk and the need to keep people safe following clinical advice’ .

The president of the National Caring Association highlighted a note when discussing the changes and said she was urgently seeking clarification from the government.

The changes come as the government races to provide booster medicine to all those vulnerable to the spread of Omicron (Image: Getty)

Nadra Ahmed called on ministers to set out whether three nominees could be changed to visit one who is in a care home.

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘Families are much bigger [three people], if you have four siblings, five siblings, you have grandchildren, great-grandchildren.

‘It’s something that we have to plan and, of course, now we are looking at three nominees. That kind of doesn’t allow anyone else, and as for the residents, they could have expected it.

‘We’re basically raising our expectations on this and of course, we’re almost back to where we were, just a little bit better, but almost back where we were last year.’

James White, head of public affairs and campaigns at the Alzheimer’s Association, said the new guidance was of ‘deep concern’.

He added: ‘More than 70% of care home residents are living with dementia and we know that limiting contact with loved ones can significantly worsen their symptoms. and cannot be recovered.

Sajid Javid has announced several new grants to help care homes weather the storm expected in the coming months (Image: AFP)

‘As we have seen from NHS England data released this week, a quarter of care home residents are still awaiting booster vaccinations despite promises that all residents will receive the vaccine. their application by November 1.

‘We are concerned that these proposed plans are being used as a screed by failing to achieve this important goal.’

The government is ramping up deployment to care for employees from home and residents and additional funding has been provided to increase wages and fund overtime in the sector through the end of March.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: ‘Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to protect the adult social care sector and the emergence of the Omicron variant means this is more important. ever.

‘This new funding will support our incredible workforce by recruiting new employees and rewarding those who have done so much during this pandemic.

‘Strengthening rollout in social care and updating screening guidelines will help keep the most vulnerable in our society safe from the virus this winter.’

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Huynh Nguyen

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