Visiting arrangements in care homes

Sets out how care homes can support families and visitors to visit residents.

This publication was withdrawn on

The information in this guidance has been superseded by Infection prevention and control in adult social care: COVID-19 supplement.

Applies to England



This guidance is for directors of public health, care providers and others who will be involved in planning to enable visits to care homes. It sets out:

  • visits that should happen in all circumstances
  • safe visiting practices
  • when different visiting arrangements are needed
  • sources of information and support

Updates to this page

Published 22 July 2020
Last updated 22 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reduce the duration of outbreak management in care homes from 14 days to 10 days.

  2. Updated section 1.3 to reflect regulations revoking vaccination as a condition of deployment came into force on 15 March 2022. People working or volunteering in care homes are no longer required to have received a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the premises.

  3. Updated to reflect changes to self-isolation requirements.

  4. Updated to provide clarification on essential care giver visits during an outbreak

  5. Updated to reflect the fact that there is now no limit on visitor numbers; following a normal visit out, residents do not need to test or self-isolate; and, following an emergency hospital stay or other high-risk visit out, residents should self-isolate for 10 days, with testing arrangements to end isolation sooner.

  6. Updated to reflect new national guidance on removal of confirmatory PCR tests in the case of a positive lateral flow test. Updated the 'Care home outbreaks' section to reflect that the Omicron variant will be treated the same as the Alpha and Delta variants for the purposes of managing outbreaks.

  7. Updated to reflect resident LFD testing following visits out of the care home are required every second day for 10 days, and to add that nominated visitors should remain the same wherever possible.

  8. Updated to add new restrictions on care home visiting due to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19: reducing the number of visitors each care home resident can receive to 3 (not including essential care givers or preschool age children), requiring testing or self-isolation following visits out of the care home, and changing testing arrangements for staff and essential caregivers.

  9. Added a comma after 'emergency stay in hospital' in the 13th bullet point on the page.

  10. Updated to place more emphasis on fact visits should take place wherever is most comfortable for the resident, visiting restrictions due to an outbreak should only be in place for 7 to 8 days following negative testing, and that physical contact should be supported to help health and wellbeing. Advice around flu and other transmissible viruses has also been added, along with guidance on how care homes can support residents on visits outside of the care home.

  11. Removed reference to the guidance on the MCA and the application of Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  12. Updated 'Guidance on care home visiting' to reflect the change in guidance on 16 August that you no longer have to self-isolate after confirmed close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated or under 18. Temporarily removed 'Summary of COVID-19 guidance for visitors' while it is being updated.

  13. Clarification on PPE usage when caring for residents with learning disabilities.

  14. Updated to reflect that from 19 July, restrictions will be removed on the number of visitors care home residents can receive overall or on any one day.

  15. Updated the section 'In the event of an outbreak in the care home' to add the Delta variant as a variant of concern.

  16. Updated to reflect that: 1. Care home residents should isolate following a visit only where it includes an overnight stay in hospital, or is deemed high-risk following an individual risk assessment. 2. Residents no longer should isolate on admission into the care home from the community. 3. Every resident can nominate an essential care giver.

  17. Adding call-out box to press release, 'Care home residents can stay overnight as visiting restrictions ease.'

  18. Removed 'Visiting arrangements: one-page overview' (PDF and HTML versions).

  19. Updated ‘Guidance on care home visiting’ and ‘Summary of guidance for visitors’ to reflect that from 17 May care home residents will be able to nominate up to 5 visitors for regular visits into the home.

  20. Updated the summary of guidance for visitors to include changes to PPE advice.

  21. Corrected to reflect that named visitors should be tested using rapid LFTs on the day of every visit.

  22. Updated 'Guidance on care home visiting' and 'Summary of guidance for visitors' to reflect the availability of self-testing for visitors.

  23. Updated 'Guidance on care home visiting', 'Summary of guidance for visitors' and 'Visiting arrangements: one-page overview' to reflect that from 12 April, each care home resident can name up to 2 people who can come for regular indoor visits. In the 'Guidance on care home visiting', updated the section on essential care givers and added a new section on visits involving children and young people aged under 18.

  24. Updated 'Guidance on care home visiting' to say that being on the Shielded Patient List does not prevent a care home resident from receiving visitors.

  25. Added a one-page overview of the guidance.

  26. The guidance has been replaced with a new version to reflect the announcements in the roadmap published on 22 February (COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021) for the next phase in opening up care home visiting. Added a new document: 'Summary of guidance for visitors'.

  27. Guidance updated in line with the national restrictions introduced on 6 January. Deleted 2 attachments summarising the guidance.

  28. Updated guidance about visiting in respect of Tier 4, in the 'Overview of visiting practice supported by this guidance' section.

  29. Updated in line with restrictions that will apply from 2 December and added a summary of the guidance.

  30. The guidance has been updated to reflect visiting arrangements in care homes while national restrictions are in place.

  31. Updated guidance with reference to local COVID alert levels and measures set out in the adult social care winter plan.

  32. Added a note to say that the guidance will be updated following publication of the adult social care winter plan.

  33. Updated to say that no one should be allowed to enter a care home if they are currently experiencing or first experienced coronavirus symptoms in the last 10 days. Also updated to say visitors should be encouraged to walk or cycle to the care home if they can.

  34. First published.

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