Published: Wednesday, 28th Oct 2020

Bolton residents could soon visit loved-ones in care homes under plans being drawn up by health and social care leaders.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, additional restrictions in Greater Manchester have meant that families have only been able to visit relatives in care homes in “exceptional circumstances”.

Bolton Council, along with colleagues across Greater Manchester, has pushed for the definition of “exceptional circumstances” to be expanded.

This would take into account the negative impact that a long period without receiving visitors can have on care home residents.

It has now been confirmed that window visits, or visits in a garden pod, can resume where an appropriate and robust risk assessment is in place.

Individual care homes will be responsible for carrying out a risk assessment and will be supported by the council to draw up plans for safe visiting.

Documents will be reviewed and approved by infection control specialists and the Director of Public Health to support care homes to ensure they have the correct safety measures in place.

Visits would be limited to a nominated carer or family members.

There are 57 care homes in Bolton, with 1,550 residents.

The safety of those living in care homes means looking after their mental wellbeing as well as their physical health.

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Cllr Andy Morgan, said:

“It has been a long and distressing period for both our care home residents and their relatives.

“Our priority is always the safety of those living in care homes, but that means looking after their mental wellbeing as well as their physical health.

“That is why we have pushed for this change in the rules which will allow residents to see their loved ones in a safe environment through closed window visits or visiting pods. 

“With the current high rates of Covid-19 community transmission in Bolton it is important we do all we can to ensure safe arrangements for families to visit their loved ones.”