Delight as care home isolation rule scrapped for low risk visits out

 Julie Hart delight at care home rules scrapped for low risk visits
Julie Hart with her mum Doreen

There has been delight amongst relatives today at the news they will be able to take their loved ones out of care homes from next week - without them needing to self isolate on their return.

Residents will be able to leave care homes for low risk visits - such as to a family's garden or take a walk, from Tuesday. 

Julie Hart from Wakefield says at last it will mean she can take her mum, Doreen, out of her care home for the first time in over a year.

From Tuesday, residents leaving their home for a walk or to visit a loved one’s garden will no longer have to isolate for two weeks on their return.

But those leaving for medical appointments and for overnight visits will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) removed the requirement for outdoor, "low risk" visits after being threatened with legal action by the charity John’s Campaign.

Campaigners said the rule encourages care homes to act unlawfully by "falsely imprisoning" residents, with family members calling it "barbaric".

Under the changes, residents on visits out must be accompanied by either a member of staff or one of their two nominated visitors, and follow social distancing throughout.

They cannot meet in groups or go indoors – except for the use of toilets – and public transport should be avoided where possible.

It is understood a resident would be able to eat outside at a restaurant or cafe with their care worker or nominated visitor if they agree this with the care home in advance.

Residents will also be able to vote in person in the upcoming local elections without having to self-isolate for 14 days afterwards.

The DHSC is expected to review the self-isolation requirement for more visits when it reaches the next stage of the Government’s road map on May 17.