Indoor visits to adult and children’s care homes have been given the green light to resume from tomorrow but a social care leader has given a “cautious” welcome to news.
The announcement by Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething comes one day earlier than previously announced.
Mary Wimbury, the chief executive of Care Forum Wales which represents nearly 500 providers, stressed the need for the visits to be properly “risk assessed” so that they are done safely in a way that did not place residents, families or staff at risk.
The Minister reiterated the reopening date is a guide and it is for each institution to determine exactly when they would be able to begin safely facilitating visits again.
Official guidance - which will also issue tomorrow - has been prepared in conjunction with the sector and aims to support homes to manage risk and put tailored arrangements in place suitable for their premises and residents’ needs.
The Minister said:
“This confirmation will be a very welcome announcement for so many across Wales. Limiting access to care homes has been wholly necessary to protect some of our most vulnerable in our communities from the harms of COVID-19 but we fully appreciate the impact this has had on residents and their loved ones.
“Given the benefits to resident's well-being, I hope that many homes can quickly update their procedures to enable indoor visits to take place safely. However, I do appreciate the anxiety that some providers will have about this significant change, and that some may need a little longer to put in place arrangements.
“I would urge family and friends to please be patient and understanding as homes begin to work through the logistics to facilitating indoor visits once again.”
Tomorrow’s change in regulations also applies to hospices and secure accommodation for children and young people.