Grandmother and granddauther touch hands on window while on visit. Senior woman staying at home in time of quarantine for coronavirus or Covid-19. Lockdown visit of a senior adult.

After months of only being able to see and hear loved ones through windows at care homes visitors will now be able to visit, in person, inside the home.

From Monday (21 December) in Manchester, visits will be able to happen in person as long as the visitor is well and has had two negative Covid tests beforehand, and wears PPE during their time in the home.

The measures are designed to reunite loved ones in safe way – while protecting everyone else in the home and its staff.

People will need to book in for a swab test 3 days before their planned visit by going online or ringing 119. If that test is negative they can then take the result to the home on the day of the visit where they will be asked to have a second test – a Lateral Flow Test – which is also a swab test. This test then puts the swab into a liquid which is poured onto a test device and can give a result within 20-30 minutes.

In most cases this test will be done at the care home. However, those homes who are not able to do it will be able to direct visitors to a dedicated testing site.

Councillor Bev Craig, Executive Member for Adult, Health and Wellbeing at Manchester City Council, welcomed the news: “That physical divide from loved ones has been torture for many people and there is now a way to change that. I’ve heard from care home residents and their families over the pandemic and I know how hard it has been.

“Our care homes across the city have done their utmost over the last 10 months to keep residents as well and as safe as possible – and as a city we are indebted to them for that dedication.

“In Manchester we wanted to make sure we got the right balance between keeping people safe from Covid and recognising the detrimental impact of not seeing loved ones, that’s why we’ve come up with a much safer system of 2 negative tests before visiting.

“A lot of planning now needs to go into the visits, with these steps around testing – and we thank families in advance for their understanding of that while they are understandably eager to see loved ones.

“To families eager to visit I would say that the detail and all the safety mechanisms are there to help everyone – and we must protect from that physical risk while having that much wanted and highly emotional reunion. Until the vaccination has been rolled out, we must all still play our part.”


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