Care home residents can go on outdoor trips without isolating

Lauren Turner, BBC News

Care home residents in England can now go on low-risk trips – such as to relatives’ gardens or a local park – without having to self-isolate for 14 days when they return. It comes after some families say they have felt “powerless” because of “restrictive” visits. One woman said her mother had not been outdoors for more than 12 months and it would be “amazing” to take her outside. Campaigners now want the rule change to become law, rather than just guidance. On Tuesday, the government’s coronavirus dashboard recorded 1,946 new infections, as well as four deaths within 28 days of a positive test across the UK. The recorded number of deaths is often lower immediately after weekends and bank holidays due to reporting lags.More than 50 million Covid vaccinations have been given in the UK so far, with 34,667,904 first doses and 15,630,007 second doses.Jenny Morrison, co-founder of Rights for Residents – a group founded to end “inhumane restrictions” preventing relatives visiting loved ones in care homes – told BBC Breakfast the change would certainly make a difference for her family, saying: “Mum’s care home is near the seafront. On a nice sunny day, after 14 months where she hasn’t been outside, it will be amazing for us to wheel mum down to the seafront and have a picnic. It will just be absolutely wonderful to take her mother outside.But she said some care homes were ignoring the guidance, with some families being given good access for visits, either indoors or outside, but others not. She said family members needed to be seen not as “just visitors” but as “essential components of people’s care”. A petition has been delivered to the government, calling for the guidance on visits to be made legally binding. It also calls for relatives of care home residents to be given essential caregiver status by law, so they could continue to visit loved ones in case of another lockdown.

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