Visiting times extended for friends and family.

Care home residents and their family and friends will soon be able to enjoy longer visits together and greater personal interaction, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has announced.

Updated guidance published by the Scottish Government recommends easing restrictions on visiting in a range of ways, including extending indoor visits from 30 minutes to up to four hours.

Outdoor visits can be extended to include up to six visitors from no more than two households, including children and young people, for up to one hour per visit.

The new guidance also supports increased personal interaction, including hugs or hand holding, as long as strict PPE and infection prevention control measures are met.

These include:

  • personal interaction – visitors can support personal care and daily routine activities, provided this is agreed with the care home and takes place in residents’ rooms
  • touch – enabling contact with loved ones with regular training and supervision for visitors to put on and take off PPE and safety guidelines
  • family pets and therapy animals – during outdoor and indoor visiting, if agreed with the care home, and certain pre-conditions are met
  • gifts and residents’ belongings – can be brought in by visitors, when agreed with the care home manager in advance

These changes will require careful planning by care homes so will be implemented once care homes are satisfied that they can be accommodated safely, alongside existing safety measures such as the weekly testing offered to all care home staff, and sample testing in homes with no cases.