What has changed?
The Government has finally published guidance advising that care homes can allow visitors.
Were visitors banned?
There was no blanket ban, but there was little guidance on the issue, so most homes adopted a cautious approach and did not let family members visit.
A few homes started allowing visits about a month ago.
New guidance announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock says that it will be down to public health directors at each council to look at infection rates locally and advise care homes if they can allow visitors again (file photo)
So when can I visit?
Not quite yet. Although Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the new guidance on Wednesday night, it will be down to the director of public health at each council to look at infection rates locally and advise care homes whether to allow visits.
That process could take a few days.
Even then, each care home manager will have the discretion to allow or refuse visits.
I have siblings and we all want to visit my father – can we take turns?
Probably not. The Government has advised that for each resident a single ‘constant visitor’ is appointed, to limit the number of different people entering homes.
That means families will have to decide which one person will make all the visits.
Discretion, however, has been left to care homes as to whether they enforce this rule.
Can I take my children to visit their grandmother?
Unfortunately not. The guidance says only one person can visit at a time.
What other safety measures are in place?
Homes have been advised to encourage all visitors to wear a face mask and to wash their hands before and after putting it on and taking it off.
Visitors might also be asked to wear gloves and aprons.
Can the visits be inside?
Homes have been told to hold the visits outdoors where possible.
Care homes have had high death tolls – why not just ban visitors?
Experts are increasingly worried that the impact of isolation and loneliness could eventually surpass the toll of the virus itself.
With infection rates coming down, charities have been calling for a resumption of visits.