Visiting and Support bubbles

This page was last updated on 28th May 2021

Local guidelines to be followed

The government is advising against indoor meetings in areas where the so-called Indian coronavirus variant is spreading fastest, as well as all but essential travel in and out of these areas. Eight areas are currently on the list: Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen, Kirklees, Bedford, Burnley, Leicester, Hounslow and North Tyneside. Some confusion has arisen because the advice is only guidance and not a legal requirement, but we have followed government guidance throughout this pandemic and so we urge anyone living or working in these areas to follow it in this case. This will mean stopping indoor visits in the affected areas and being extra careful when out and about.

Guidance on visits

In the light of the easing of pandemic restrictions earlier this week, we have updated our guidance documents on visits to Registered Care Homes and supported living services, and visits out from supported living services, in England. You can download these documents from the list below. Similar guidance will be applicable to Wales and further details on this will follow.

Our existing guidance on visits from Registered Care Homes continues to apply.

Full details on the easing of restrictions in Wales can be viewed here.

External visits to services

We have closed our day and respite services and are using their staff teams and buildings for emergency cover. These closures will be kept under review.

Rapid tests for colleagues and contractors visiting services

Following best practice, we are asking all colleagues who visit services but who are not part of that service’s regular testing regime to take a rapid lateral flow coronavirus test on arrival and wait until a negative result is returned before entering. We are also requiring all external contractors visiting services to take a rapid lateral flow test and return a negative result before coming in, unless they are already part of a regular testing regime organised by their employer (which many contractors now are).

We have purchased thousands of lateral flow test kits for these purposes, and will be making further purchases shortly. This new policy does not affect the regular testing already being provided to Registered Care Homes and supported living services by local authorities.

If you have concerns please speak to your locality manager for updates.

Support bubbles

The government has updated its guidance on support bubbles in England following the further easing of restrictions – you can download it here. The guidance covers questions such as who is eligible to form a support bubble and how you can change your support bubble. It also makes it clear that people can continue to meet in groups larger than six people or two households indoors where this is reasonably necessary for providing care or to attend a support group of up to 30 people.

Helpline for families

We have set up a helpline for the families of the people we support. The line is open from 9:30am to 1:30pm, Monday to Friday, and will give family members the opportunity to ask questions of our team of family consultants.

Phone 0300 303 9161 or Email:

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