This page is for anyone who requires information and updates about how we are dealing with the current Covid-19 pandemic across MHA care homes, retirement living, and community group services.

The arrangements for visiting and testing for our care homes from 4 April are detailed below under each of the nations as this differs for England, Scotland and Wales. 

Our care homes are open for admissions. If they are in an outbreak, then homes are able to take in new residents subject to the agreement of local public health officials and a risk assessment. 

We would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you for bearing with us over the many changes in guidance in visiting and testing over the past two years. We know it has not been easy at times for many of you, especially as we balanced the need for you to be able to see your loved one along with the need to keep them as safe as possible. 

Unfortunately, with the ongoing prevalence of Covid-19, there will continue to be times when we will still need to restrict visiting due to outbreaks in our homes and schemes, and local public health guidance.

As we move towards a situation of more relaxed rules on visiting, we would please ask that anyone showing symptoms of Covid, or any other respiratory infection such as a cold, that you stay away until you have recovered. This is to help minimise the risk of bringing Covid or any other infections into our homes and schemes. 

Care homes guidance: England 

The guidance now published covers visiting and testing, which are outlined below. You can read the detailed guidance at www.gov.uk and search for care home visiting.

The biggest change in the guidance is that visitors will no longer need to test before visiting as tests are not being provided free of charge for visitors. However, we would ask you to seriously consider continuing to test before visiting to avoid bringing Covid-19 into your loved one’s home. We appreciate this would place an additional financial burden on you at a time when living costs are rising, but would ask you to think about this, to avoid your loved one’s home potentially having to close due to an outbreak and in terms of the health of all residents. Sadly we will not be given enough LFD tests to cover testing for all visitors going forward. 

The exception to this will be visitors who provide personal care and they will be added to the home’s testing schedule to do no more than two tests a week.   

All visitors will still need to wear a face mask when they come into the home. 

There should not normally be any restrictions to visits in or out of care homes, including the number of visitors, when there are no restrictions due to outbreaks. This means visiting is almost back to as it was before the pandemic. 

Under the guidance, the term ‘essential care giver’ is now no longer used. Instead, it says every resident can have one visitor who can visit in all circumstances, including during periods of isolation and outbreak. End of life visits will always be facilitated

Testing for residents is now to only be done if they are showing symptoms of Covid-19 as regular asymptomatic testing for residents is being withdrawn. 

Residents who have symptoms of Covid-19 will need to isolate and take two LFD tests 48 hours apart. They can stop isolating if both tests are negative. If positive, they should isolate until they have had two consecutive LFD results taken 24 hours apart at the earliest from days 5 and 6 (Day 0 is the day they test positive or first develop symptoms). If they continue to receive positive test results up to day 10, they can stop isolating after day 10. Any individual who is unable to test should isolate for the full 10 days  Residents who are close contacts of a COVID-19 case do not need to isolate or test. 

If your loved one needs to go into hospital, they will not need to self-isolate when discharged back to the care home, subject to a negative PCR or LFD. They will, however, need to self-isolate for 10 days if they have been discharged from a part of the hospital where there is an active outbreak. They can end this isolation early by having two negative LFD tests 24 hours apart from days 5 and 6 onwards. 

For those who care for your loved one, testing is being reduced to twice a week and using LFD tests. Following a positive result, the care home team will need to test for five days. 

As before, symptomatic staff will need to stay off work until they have had two consecutive negative tests or until either ten days have passed with a single negative test or 14 days if their test continues to say they are positive. 

Care homes guidance: Wales  

The need for visitors to have evidence of a negative LFD test continues to be the case in Wales and our homes will be provided with tests for you to be able to continue with this. 

Our staff will still have access to LFD tests to enable them to continue to do asymptomatic testing twice a week. 

Face coverings will continue to be a legal requirement in health and care settings for the next three weeks. It is advised that visitors should continue to wear masks/face coverings when in public areas of care homes and when moving through the care home, but may otherwise be removed.

The number of ‘essential visitors’ allowed during an outbreak will be increased to two people and they may visit either separately or at the same time. 

The use of PPE will continue to be recommended for all staff working in social care settings but social distancing can be relaxed for social care staff, care home residents and people receiving care at home when there is no evidence of COVID-19 circulating.

The guidance can be found here https://gov.wales/care-homes-visiting-guidance-visitors-and-residents 

Care homes guidance: Scotland 

There are currently no changes to the need for visitors to test before visiting in Scotland and the testing regime for residents and staff remains unchanged. PPE will continue to be worn. 

This guidance is due to continue until 17 April 2022, when it will be reviewed by the Scottish government. 

The guidance can be found here https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-adult-care-homes-visiting-guidance/ 

Retirement living: information for relatives and friends of residents 

Our retirement living schemes are open for visitors to individual apartments. The opening of communal areas will vary for schemes, so please contact the Scheme Manager directly. Full contact details for all our retirement living schemes can be accessed using our online service finder >

Please note - any scheme with an active outbreak of coronavirus will continue to be closed for visitors. Any scheme that has previously had confirmed Coronavirus cases will need to have had 28 days with no new cases or symptoms after the first day of the most recent case and dependent on advice from Public Health before opening to visitors. 

Our fantastic colleagues and volunteers are working around the clock to ensure our residents are receiving excellent support as always, so please rest assured your loved ones are in compassionate and caring hands.

Unfortunately, some of our colleagues are off work due to self-isolation, or they, sadly, have become symptomatic. We’re working really hard to support our homes and schemes across the country and have launched a national recruitment drive to ensure the staffing levels are maintained. They are then trained, ready, and waiting to step in and continue giving your loved one the fantastic care and support they deserve.

Retirement living: new sales and lettings 

Our retirement living schemes are now open to viewings, these are on a pre-arranged appointment-only basis. This ensures that you, our staff, and our residents are completely safe throughout the viewing process.

We can also offer virtual viewings and can walk you through each part of the apartments.

If you would like to speak to a member of our Sales Team, please call 0800 479 2224 or email us at sales@mha.org.uk

MHA Communities: information for members 

From Monday 19 July 2021, we are starting to re-launch more of our indoor and outdoor services and we would love to welcome you back safely. Please get in touch with your local scheme to find out what activities are available in your area. Visit the MHA Communities page to find the contact details. 

MHA Digital Communities online activities are all still available if you'd rather join in from the comfort of your own home. 

Careers and volunteering: information for new applicants 

We are recruiting across a variety of career and volunteer roles at MHA right now.

As the UK's largest charity care provider, we’re searching for empathetic and dedicated people with broad-ranging skills and experience to support our mission of enabling older people to live later life well.

Being part of MHA means being part of a caring and unwavering organisation where you will have the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of older people both across the UK and within your local communities. 

If you’re looking for a career opportunity, please visit our current vacancies page >

If you’d like to support MHA by volunteering, please visit our volunteering page >

Media enquiries: information for journalists and reporters 

For details on how to contact our PR Manager, please visit our media centre > 

For general MHA enquiries, please use our online contact form >

As you will appreciate, our Communications Team is working hard to service all the media enquiries we receive and will come back to you as soon as possible. Many thanks for your understanding.

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