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13th December 2021

Updated guidance: Care home visitors cut to three to stop the speed of Omicron

  • Package of new measures announced to protect the social care sector from COVID-19
  • Extra support for booster programme to protect the vulnerable and those providing care
  • £300 million fund to help recruit and reward social care workforce
  • Updated guidance on care home visiting and testing to keep residents, staff and visitors safe

The government has announced updated guidance on care home visiting and testing with the aim of keeping staff, residents and visitors safe.

The Department of Health said the measures were "to balance the current COVID-19 risk and the need to keep people safe".

Visits to care homes

Read the latest guidance and updates on visiting care homes now.

Under the guidance, each resident will be allowed three visitors and an essential care giver, in order to balance the current COVID-19 risk and the need to keep people safe in line with clinical advice.

Staff testing

Staff testing will be increased from two lateral flow tests per week to three as well as a weekly PCR test. Fully vaccinated residents ‘visiting out’ will be asked to take a lateral flow test on alternate days for two weeks after a visit. Those not fully vaccinated will be expected to isolate following a visit out.

Boosters

Additional support is being offered to the social care sector as part of a package of new measures to protect people from the spread of the Omicron variant.

Specialist vaccination teams are being expanded and deployed to guarantee all care home residents and staff, as well as people who are housebound and their caregivers, are offered the booster – with those most at risk prioritised for the jab.

Care homes will be able to request follow up booster visits from vaccination teams for staff and residents and home visit payments for GPs will be increased to further ramp up the homecare programme.

More than 70% of older adult care home residents have already received a booster jab and 97% of older adult care homes have been visited by vaccination teams. Those who haven’t been visited, normally due to an outbreak, will receive visits shortly.

Financial support

An extra £300m is being made available to recruit and retain care workers, the Department of Health said. It can be used to pay for bonuses and bring forward planned pay rises for care staff, fund overtime and staff banks increasing workforce numbers up until the end of March.

Further measures will be kept under review in line with the latest scientific advice.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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