Hugging may be set to resume in England’s care homes soon with rapid testing being rolled out for visitors soon. According to the Guardian this will be going ahead however some care operators are warning that not all will get a visit before Christmas and protective equipment will still be essential to keep the risk of infection down.
At the weekend, the Cabinet Office said the tests would potentially allow “visitors to have physical contact with their loved one, such as providing personal care and holding hands”. In most cases, tests will be carried out on site and visitors will have to book ahead and will only be allowed in if they have tested negative that day.
Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, said last week that he would not encourage anyone to hug or kiss elderly relatives, which is heart-breaking for most residents and their loved ones. The guidance however, is expected to leave hugging as an option while stressing the need to weigh the risks it may pose.
The Guardian explained that Care England, which represents the largest care home providers, also warned relatives on Tuesday “it will be a while until [testing] is entrenched” and that visits will still only be possible “as part of a raft of other infection control measures”.
“Our first visitor put the Christmas tree up in her dad’s bedroom,” said Zoe McCallum, the chief operating officer of Brendoncare, which runs the home. “She was allowed to hug him. That’s the difference it makes.”
Lateral flow test kits, which deliver results in about half an hour, are understood to have been dispatched already to some of the larger care homes, with the rollout intended to reach smaller homes in the coming weeks.
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