Merton Council relaxes visitor restrictions in residential and nursing homes

Statement from Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health at Merton Council

Family members and friends will now be able to visit their loved ones in residential and nursing homes.

In March 2020, as part of measures to control the spread of COVID-19, care homes were advised by Government that visits to care homes should be limited to those essential to maintain services for residents, and for end-of-life pastoral care.

Subsequent guidance has been issued by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) allowing the relaxation of some of these restrictions, subject to a risk assessment being carried out by the Director of Public Health, Dagmar Zeuner, she says:

“A dynamic risk assessment has now been carried out and has shown that infection rates and other indicators of viral spread in Merton, South West London (SWL) and London overall are currently sufficiently low so that DHSC conditions apply for relaxation; the decision on whether to allow visitors to care homes has now be delegated to local care home managers in Merton, who will take into account the individual needs of their residents.

“Care Homes are residents’ own homes, and as much as possible should offer the same quality of life, including visits from relatives, friends and neighbours. The benefits of improving mental health and wellbeing through welcoming visitors need to be judged against the risks of visitors transmitting COVID-19. On balance, I believe that the care home managers themselves were best placed to make this decision.

“We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert, if you are visiting a care home you must follow all necessary infection control measures they have put in place.”

Please contact your relevant Care Home manager before visiting a friend or relative to check if they are accepting visitors.

Visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus and find out how to stay safe and help stop the spread of Coronavirus.