Visiting arrangements in care homes

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



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:

  • an overview of the visiting practices supported by this guidance
  • advice for providers when establishing their visiting policy
  • advice for providers when taking visiting decisions for particular residents or groups of residents
  • advice on delivering safe visiting, with and without testing
  • information on visiting in exceptional circumstances such as end of life

This guidance should be read alongside arrangements for visiting out of the care home.

Published 22 July 2020
Last updated 14 May 2021 + show all updates
  1. Removed 'Visiting arrangements: one-page overview' (PDF and HTML versions).

  2. 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.

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

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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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'.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  16. 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.

  17. First published.