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Visitors' protocol - CPA briefing for care providers


Updated September 2021


The Government has updated its visiting guidance throughout the pandemic – most recently in August 2021.

Current guidance states that visiting must be supported and enabled wherever and whenever it is possible and safe to do so – and a wide range of professionals have a role in supporting this, including care home managers, DPH and DASS. As the default position, all care homes should seek to enable different types of visits as described in the Government policy.

CPA’s visitors’ protocol was first published in June 2020 and reviewed in February 2021 and August 2021.

Members of the Care Provider Alliance – led by the National Care Forum – have produced Partners in Care – resources to support meaningful visits. This set of resources, published in March 2021, is designed to provide practical support to care homes and their relatives and loved ones to adopt the default position that care homes are open for visiting.

Essential Care Givers§

Government guidance also supports the role of the Essential Care Giver.

All residents should be enabled to have an essential care giver, who should be able to visit more often. Essential care givers will need to be supported to follow the same testing arrangements, and the same PPE and infection control arrangements, as care home staff.

The essential care giver arrangements are intended for circumstances where the visitor’s presence, or the care they provide, is central to the health and wellbeing of the resident, and their health or wellbeing could deteriorate without it.

CPA hosted a webinar on visiting and the role of the Essential Care Giver on 17 September 2021. The webinar included presentations by the Relatives and Relatives Association, Nottingham Community Housing Association, Maria Mallaband Care Group and Care Quality Commission.

View a recording of the webinar

Read the webinar presentation

Key resources§

Visits to care homes§

Government guidance on visiting care homes during coronavirus 

Government guidance on visiting outside of the care home

Partners in Care: resources to support meaningful visits - NCF and partners

Visitors’ Protocol – CPA

Visiting and the law – Relatives & Residents Association

Essential Care Givers§

Government guidance on visiting care homes during coronavirus – See Section 2.2

The Essential Care Giver role and visiting – CPA webinar recording, 17 September 2021

The Essential Care Giver role and visiting – Presentation from CPA webinar, 17 September 2021

Essential Care Givers: information and support – Relatives & Residents Association


Keeping connected: Open and transparent communications in the time of COVID-19 – CPA and partners

Other settings§

Government guidance for supported living

Government guidance for home care settings

Government shielding guidance