Care homes should continue to support visiting and outings in all but exceptional circumstances.
Before you visit
There are no limits on how often residents can receive visitors in the care home. But visiting must remain safe and manageable for care home staff and the resident themselves. Care home staff may decide the number of visitors (including children) that a resident can have at any one time. Arrangements will be guided based on a number of factors. For example, the size of resident rooms and arrangements for managing visiting safely in the home.
Family and friends should check with the care home whether they need to arrange visits with the home in advance. Sometimes this can help to manage the number of people visiting at a time. The duration of visits should not be limited if safe visiting practices can be maintained.
You should not visit a care home or meet up with a resident if you:
- have symptoms of or think you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) or any other respiratory virus
- have tested positive for coronavirus
- are a close contact of someone with coronavirus
- are waiting on a PCR test result
- have been self-isolating and have been able to end self-isolation early – you should only visit or meet a care home resident after 10 days
Children who are unwell should not visit care homes.
Anyone who visits an adult care home should take a lateral flow device (LFD) test. You may be asked to show proof of the recent negative LFD test before each visit. This includes family, friends, children over the age of 12 and visiting professionals. You may take the test at home before you visit. You can order LFD tests online or by phoning 119. If requested in advance, the home should be able to help you to carry out the test when you arrive at the care home.
If you visit multiple times per week you should test twice weekly, with 2 to 3 days between each test.
During your visit
Visitors can choose not to physically distance from the friends and family they are visiting. They can choose not wear a face mask or covering when in the resident's personal room. However, not wearing a face covering or maintaining physical distance can increase the risk of coronavirus transmission. Visitors should discuss this with the individual they are visiting and care home staff.
All visitors should:
- wear a face covering or mask in all communal areas of the care home
- maintain 1 metre or more physical distance from care home staff and other residents and visitors
- remain in their designated visiting area, for example the resident’s room
- follow infection prevention and control measures as instructed by care home staff including increasing ventilation and hand hygiene – this is particularly important when visiting during an outbreak
Groups of external visitors, including community groups, are still not recommended to visit inside the care home. For example, school children and choirs. External visiting groups may perform outdoors in the care home grounds where residents can watch from a window inside the care home.
Unless there's an outbreak in the care home or the resident is self-isolating, there are no limits to the frequency and duration of visits, as long as they can be managed safely.
Visiting a resident who is self-isolating
If the care home does not have an ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the care home should support residents who are self-isolating to have 1 visitor per day in their private room if they wish. This does not need to be the same person or a named visitor. Named visitor is applicable during outbreaks only.
If a resident tests positive for coronavirus, the care home should still support the resident to have 1 visitor per day. This can happen following a risk assessment by the care home team. Particular precautions will be required compared to normal visiting.
Visiting a resident during a care home coronavirus outbreak
When an care home has a coronavirus outbreak, residents can receive a visit from a named visitor once per day in their private room.
Residents or their representatives should be encouraged to identify up to 3 named visitors, though only one can visit at a time. Care homes should fully support visits by named visitors. This is to minimise the impact of self-isolation on the resident's wellbeing.
In some exceptional circumstances, the local health protection team may pause visiting. However, named visiting should resume as soon as possible once circumstances allow it.
Visitors should wear a fluid resistant surgical mask where possible. They should also follow all infection prevention and control measures as guided by the care home.
Residents who are not coronavirus cases or contacts do not need to self-isolate. They may use communal areas of the care home.
Care homes registered for adults
For residents living in adult care homes which are not registered as care home services for older people it may be possible to:
- take LFD tests instead of self-isolating as a coronavirus contact
- end self-isolation early with LFD testing if a coronavirus case
Residents or their representatives should discuss this with care home staff. An individual risk assessment is also needed in these settings.
Further guidance on visiting during outbreaks is available from Public Health Scotland:
An essential visit is when it's very important that a friend or relative is supported to have meaningful contact with their loved one. This includes for end of life care or for relief when someone is in distress.
An essential visit can take place at any time, including during an outbreak or, when a resident is in self-isolation.
Essential visiting is in addition to named visiting.
Read further information on essential visiting from Public Health Scotland