Care home residents will get to see two visitors as lockdown eases from April 12

Care home residents will be reunited with more loved ones in a major easing of restrictions.

Lockdown rules will be relaxed so they can have two regular visitors from Monday, April 12, instead of the current one.

Residents will be able to meet two nominated relatives or friends indoors and hold hands but the guests will have to wear PPE and be tested in advance.

From April 12, care home residents will be able to have two regular nominated visitors indoors as long as they are tested in advance of their visit and wear PPE during their visit (file photo)

From April 12, care home residents will be able to have two regular nominated visitors indoors as long as they are tested in advance of their visit and wear PPE during their visit (file photo)

From April 12, care home residents will be able to have two regular nominated visitors indoors as long as they are tested in advance of their visit and wear PPE during their visit (file photo)

LEGAL CHALLENGE TO OUTDOOR TRIPS BAN 

Campaigners have launched legal action against ‘discriminatory’ rules which ban people in residential care from taking trips outside the home.

John’s Campaign, which fights for relatives to have better access to their loved ones while in care, argued that the Government is acting unlawfully by imposing a blanket ban.

Official guidance states that nobody over the age of 65 should leave a home, regardless of the health of the individual. The only exception is in circumstances such as to visit a friend or relative at the end of their life.

But, in a letter to the Department of Health and Social Care, the campaign’s solicitors said official guidance must balance the Covid risk against the harm caused by keeping people away from their families.

It added that existing laws require care homes to make specific decisions for individual residents and imposing blanket restrictions is ‘fundamentally at odds with that requirement’.

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Babies and very young children will also be able to join in for the first time without being counted as one of the visitors.

It means some grandparents and great-grandparents will be able to meet the newest members of their families for the first time.

Care minister Helen Whately said: ‘We want to go further… and our aim is to make visiting to care homes as normal as possible by the summer.’

The Daily Mail has been campaigning for an end to cruel visiting bans that have seen some residents separated from loved ones for longer than a year.

New guidance came into force on March 8 stating all residents should be allowed indoor visits with one designated relative or friend.

But campaigners have warned there has been a cruel lottery with some care home bosses still refusing to let visits take place.

Boris Johnson said last night: ‘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.’

Guidance on the new arrangements will be published on Monday before it comes into effect as part of the next stage of lockdown easing on April 12.

A care home resident with two children will now be able to have both to visit indoors – either together or separately – rather than just picking one.

However, they will have to stick to the same two nominated visitors.

Heading back to normal: The latest guidance for the new arrangements will be published on Monday before it comes into effect as part of the next stage of lockdown easing on April 12

Heading back to normal: The latest guidance for the new arrangements will be published on Monday before it comes into effect as part of the next stage of lockdown easing on April 12

Heading back to normal: The latest guidance for the new arrangements will be published on Monday before it comes into effect as part of the next stage of lockdown easing on April 12

Existing rules allowing extra visitors outdoors or behind a screen will remain in place.

Fiona Carragher, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Visits are vital to care home residents with dementia, who have been isolated from their loved ones… and as a result experienced a devastating increase in their symptoms over the past year.’

n Almost one in four care home staff have not been vaccinated, it emerged yesterday.

Just 78 per cent of staff in homes have received their first dose, compared with almost 94 per cent of eligible residents, officials figures showed.

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