Following previous communication relating to the new Care Quality Commission (CQC) fundamental standard on visiting and accompanying (Regulation 9A) which took effect on the 6th of April 2024, the following guidance has also now been produced:  

Supporting safer visiting in care homes during infectious illness outbreaks  

This document outlines principles to support decision making for those involved in safely planning and protecting visiting during outbreaks of infectious disease in adult social care. Although these principles have been written for health protection practitioners and community infection prevention and control professionals, who have responsibility for advising on supporting safe visiting, they will also be very useful for care home managers and providers who have responsibility for implementing outbreak management measures in adult social care homes. The document provides a review of the issues which should be considered in safely planning and protecting visiting during outbreaks of infectious illness. 

It should continue to be recognised that contact with relatives and friends is fundamental to care home residents’ health and wellbeing and there should not normally be any restrictions to visits into or out of a care home. However, during an infectious disease outbreak, health protection teams may in exceptional circumstances advise that providers reduce the number of people entering and leaving a care home to reduce the spread of infection. This should only happen if facilitating a visit would pose a significant risk to the health or wellbeing of someone in the care home premises, which cannot be mitigated through other precautions.