TWO grandchildren will finally be able to visit their grandparents in care homes as lockdown rules continue to be relaxed.
From Monday regular visits are being extended from one to two people under carefully designed conditions to prevent transmission of Covid-19.
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Care home visitors will be asked to provide a negative test result and wear PPE during the visit to keep themselves, staff and residents safe.
In the coming weeks, as testing capacity continues to increase, some visitors will be able to conduct tests at home rather than at care homes to allow more visits to take place.
Visitors who are parents will also be able to visit with babies and very young children, who will not count as one of the visitors.
This means grandparents and great-grandparents will be able to meet the newest members of their families for the first time.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Reuniting family and friends has been a priority each time restrictions have eased, and the next step will be no different.
"I’m particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.
"Thanks to the tireless work of care home staff, and the success of the vaccine rollout, we’re able to increase the number of visits in a safe and controlled way."
I’m particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.
Further opportunities for relatives and contacts to have outdoor, pod and screen visits will continue in line with the published guidance which has been in place during lockdown.
Minister for Care Helen Whately said: "Increasing care home visiting is a top priority as we ease Covid restrictions. I know just how much these visits mean to residents and their loved ones.
"I’m pleased we were able to introduce more meaningful visits to care homes in March. Seeing friends and family reunited has been incredibly moving. Thank you to all of our amazing care workers for helping to make this possible.
"We want to go further, so we’re allowing more visitors at this next stage of the roadmap – and our aim is to make visiting care homes as normal as possible by the summer.
"We know how cruel this virus can be in care homes so we must continue to follow the science and data, but things are looking up."
Arrangements for essential caregivers for those residents who require the greatest support and which have been welcomed by residents and care providers will continue.
Some residents, such as those with advanced dementia, some autistic people and people with a learning disability need a particular, trusted person to provide some aspects of their care which is why the essential care giver scheme will also be extended.
Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing at Alzheimer’s Society said: "We’re so pleased two named visitors will be able to have meaningful close contact visits with loved ones in care homes from 12 April.
"Visits are vital to care home residents with dementia, who have been isolated from their loved ones, without the essential care and support their families so often provide, and as a result experienced a devastating increase in their dementia symptoms over the past year."
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