Possible easing of lockdown for Welsh care homes could still mean only one ‘designated visitor’ allowed
Indoor visits to care homes in Wales are likely to see just one “designated visitor” rather than a group of family members the First Minister has explained.
Last week, it was announced that from next Saturday indoor visits to care homes could be allowed again, subject to there being no significant change regarding the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
Further information on how visits can take place is expected to released in the coming week, however speaking yesterday, First Minister Mark Drakeford warned it would not be a return to the pre-pandemic normal.
The sector has been particularly affected by the pandemic, with the latest ONS figures stating there had been a total of 701 Covid-19 deaths in Welsh care homes as of August 7th. However, Care Inspectorate Wales figures state a slightly higher number of 742 deaths.
Many members of staff temporarily moved into care homes during lockdown in a bid to protect the residents.
Despite the death numbers, the First Minister said around three quarters of care homes in Wales have had no cases of the virus.
Outdoor visits have been allowed in Wales since June, however the new proposals by the Welsh Government say indoor visits could be allowed to take place from as soon as next weekend.
Asked on the detail by Wales Online at Friday’s Welsh Government briefing, Mr Drakeford said it was very likely that people will have to “declare a designated visitor” and will not just be able to just turn up.
He said: “It’s very important for me to be clear that while visits indoors at care homes will be possible from Saturday 29, they will not look like visits did in a more normal era.”
“It’s very likely that people will have to declare a designated visitor, you won’t just be able to turn up as a group of family members. You will have have had to say in advance who the single visitor is going to be.”
“The care home is likely to need to carry out a risk assessment, it will look to see whether that visit could be successfully accomplished outdoors rather than indoors.”
“There will be updated guidance published during this week on the Welsh Government website that is being completed with help from the Office of the Older Persons Commissioner and from Care Forum Wales.
“I know that they will be care homes in Wales who are very nervous about allowing visitors back inside, given what they may have experienced during the pandemic.”
“It is important to repeat what this is, it is permission for those care homes to prepare and plan to see what can be done, rather than an instruction that they’ve got to allow people in if those circumstances at that home simply don’t allow it.”
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