Sheffield care homes start indoor visits from nominated friends and family – these are the rules

Care homes in Sheffield are able to welcome people inside to visit and hold hands with residents once again as lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease across the country.

By Lloyd Bent
Monday, 8th March 2021, 3:05 pm

As of today (March 8) care homes are able to allow residents to nominate a single named visitor who will be able to enter the care home for regular visits.

And while most physical contact will remain forbidden, care home residents will be able to hold hands with loved ones for the first time since lockdown.

This comes just over a month after all residents of care homes in the city were confirmed to have been offered the vaccine, and frontline care home workers were vaccinated as part of the first cohort to be offered the jab.

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Previously all visitors had to remain outside when they wanted to see family members in care homes. Here, at Beechy Knoll Care Home, family members celebrate resident Kitty's 104th birthday last year. Family members l-r: Dave Little, Helen Cox, Jackie and Richard Little.

More than 90 per cent of care home residents and more than 80 over cent of people over 80 have now been vaccinated in Sheffield

The most up-to-date Covid guidelines say that visitors are to be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit, must wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow all other infection control measures set by the homes during visits.

Age charities and workers within the sector have welcomed the change and the benefits it will bring to residents who have struggled with not being able to easily meet family and friends during lockdown.

A spokesperson for Age UK Sheffield said: “We feel it is very important for relatives to be able to safely visit family members in care homes. But, we recognise the obligations on care home managers to keep their residents safe.

"We know some care homes in Sheffield are finding ways to enable visiting within Government guidelines and we encourage all care home managers to work positively to enable safe visiting to take place.

"Enabling safe visiting will help reduce social isolation and loneliness, which so many people are experiencing at the moment.”

Visitors and residents are permitted to hold hands, but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission.

And the guidance states that there should not be close physical contact such as hugging.

Care homes can continue to offer visits to other friends or family members with arrangements such as outdoor visiting, substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.