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On 31st October, the Government announced it will be introducing new national lockdown restrictions to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, that will come into force on Thursday 5th November, if passed by Parliament.

As the Government finalises the regulations for the new lockdown period,  is it essential that the default position it takes within those regulations is that care homes remain open for visits for family and friends who are caring for residents, both now and in the future.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive, Carers UK commented:

“It is vital that as we enter a new phase of restrictions, that the Government does everything in its power to fully support care homes to enable visiting.

“When care homes were locked down in March, this was an emergency response introduced at a time of great uncertainty. Eight months on, we know much more about this virus, and how to effectively curb its spread.

“The restrictions that were in place earlier this year caused enormous distress and anxiety for those living in care homes, and for their family and friends who were unable to visit them. Many of these people are integral to providing care on a day to day basis to residents. This goes to the heart of human rights principles. 

“While it is only right that the risks are properly appraised, there is no evidence that a blanket ban on visiting, or near ban, is the right response – especially as care homes are much better equipped now to manage any risk than previously, while greater knowledge of transmission and infection prevention and control practices exists.

“The Government must make clear this week that safe care home visiting is still allowed to continue, and that support is put in place to support care homes to do so. We cannot make the same mistakes again.”

Carers UK has co-signed a statement (1 November 2020) led by the National Care Forum, alongside more than 60 other organisations, researchers, professionals and allies representing relatives, carers and providers, which calls for the Government to ensure that care homes are supported to enable visits by families and loved ones, now and in the future. Find out more, here.

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