How you can safely see your friends and family during this transition period out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Having visitors inside the care home
Care home staff should support you to see your friends and family. There are still some safeguards in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- visitors should do a lateral flow test (LFT) before coming inside the care home to check whether they may be infectious
- if the LFT is negative, visitors can enter the care home
- if the LFT is positive, they will not be able to visit unless there are exceptional circumstances
There is no longer a legal requirement for visitors to wear face coverings in communal areas of the home however it is still advisable.
You should be able to receive visitors in a place that is comfortable for you, such as your own room or a designated visiting room. Social distancing is no longer required.
The Welsh Government does not place restrictions on visitor numbers or how long visitors can stay.
Visitors can bring pets to visit (but should let the care home know before hand).
You and your visitor(s) can exchange gifts and share food and drink.
You can have visitors outdoors, which some people may prefer during warmer weather. For an outside visit:
- visitors do not need to take a COVID-19 test
- visitors do not need to wear a face covering
- there are no rules about how many people you can see at the same time
- there are no rules about how long people can stay
However, care homes may have their own policies about this to manage the flow of visitors. You can speak to the care home staff if you have any questions about outdoor visiting.
You can go out to see friends and family and participate in community life. There are no COVID-related restrictions on staying overnight at a friend or family member’s house.
You may be asked to take a lateral flow test after some visits out - for example, if you have been to a large gathering such as a funeral or wedding. The care home staff will be able to advise you.
COVID-19 outbreaks at your care home
A COVID-19 outbreak is declared when 2 or more people in the care home test positive for COVID-19 and the cases are deemed to be linked.
If there is an outbreak, care homes may put additional measures in place to reduce the spread of the virus. During an outbreak:
- You can choose up to 2 people to be your essential visitors. These can be family members or friends. They can continue to visit you inside the home if there is a COVID-19 outbreak, either together or separately.
- if you or your essential visitor have COVID-19 they will not be able to visit you unless there are exceptional circumstances.
- If there is a COVID-19 outbreak you can still use the phone or have a video call with friends and family.
- You can always have a visit indoors if there are exceptional circumstances. This includes, but is not limited to, end of life.
For some COVID-19 incidents or outbreaks routine visits may continue, depending on public health advice for the specific outbreak. Your care home will be able to advise you.
Public Health Wales has provided guidance for care home providers on the management of outbreaks in care homes.
How to raise concerns
If you want to change something about how you see your family and friends, you can speak to the care home staff in the first instance.
If you have concerns that the visiting rules of a care home provider are too restrictive, you (or a family member/representative) can raise this with Care Inspectorate Wales. Care Inspectorate Wales regulates care home services in Wales.
You can do this via the Care Inspectorate Wales raising a concern about care services page. Or you can contact them, as follows:
Care Inspectorate Wales
Welsh Government Office
Telephone: 0300 7900 126 (Croesawir galwadau yn Gymraeg / Calls are welcomed in Welsh)