Rules for visiting care homes in Scotland are changing on Monday.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed the next stage of family visiting will be introduced next week - including more visits for residents.

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Here's everything you need to know about the new rules.

How many people can visit residents?

As of Monday, care home residents will be able to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households. This is only provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures in place.

What is the criteria for care home visits?

Care homes will only be able to permit visiting if they have been Covid-free throughout the pandemic or if all residents who have been affected by the virus have fully recorded, and no residents or staff members have had symptoms for at least 28 days.

It also depends on whether the home is actively participating in weekly staff testing.

When will indoor visits start?

We don't have a specific date for indoor visits, however care home providers have been asked to draw up plans on how they can safely allow one indoor visitor for residents. 

This includes ensuring adequate staffing and PPE and making sure staff are fully engaged in the weekly testing programme.

HeraldScotland:

These plans must be submitted by August 24, so we may have more of an idea of when these types of visits can continue after this date.

It is all dependent on the relevant health board's Director of Public Health, who must sign off the plans once they are satisfied with it.

What about essential visits?

Essential visits, including those involving end of life care, and visits for residents who are experiencing distress have been permitted throughout the pandemic and should continue to be supported by care homes.

Is Aberdeen included in these changes?

Unfortunately, no. Due to the local lockdown measures in place in Aberdeen, the area has been left out of this new ruleset.

Indoor visits to hospitals and care homes should be limited to essential visits only, and  outdoor visits to care homes in Aberdeen City are permitted by one designated person, in line with current guidance. 

What has Jeane Freeman said?

Ms Freeman said: “This has been, and continues to be, a very challenging time for care home residents, their families and staff. Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes and we are committed to reintroducing measures that allow residents to connect with their family and friends. But this must be done safely and with precautions.

“Progress has been made since we reintroduced one designated outdoor visitor earlier this month, and I am pleased the clinical advice is now that care homes that meet the strict criteria can now allow residents to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households. 

“It is important that we continue to monitor this situation and that all changes within care homes happen incrementally and with real caution to protect residents and staff.

“At this point in time clinical advice is not to restart indoor care home visiting, but to ensure  the necessary plans are in place to move to this as soon as safe to do so. This is being continually monitored and I hope we can give a further update on this in the coming weeks.

“We are also working to identify the necessary steps needed to restart communal activity within care homes and to reintroduce external outings by residents. This is a complex piece of work and we will of course include key partners in this.”