When will the Welsh Government next review the 10 day self-isolation policy for residential care home residents returning from hospital?
Throughout the pandemic the Welsh Government’s policies relating to infection prevention and control (IP&C) have been guided by public health advice. On 22 November, Public Health Wales issued updated IP&C advice for care homes. Consequently, guidance relating to discharges from hospitals to care settings was reviewed and updated on 25 November: FINAL - November 2021 Update - Hospital Discharge Service Requirements (Wales) - Update to guidance in respect of testing and self-isolation (ENG).docx (gov.wales)
To help facilitate the return of people to their home following hospital admission, testing for Covid-19 on discharge to care settings is moving from PCR tests to lateral flow device (LFD) tests.
People who are discharged from hospital after a negative LFD test will be asked to self-isolate until a repeat LFD test, on day three, confirms the original negative result. After receiving the second negative result the self-isolation period may end.
People on an elective pathway are at a lower risk of contracting Covid-19 due to the controlled management of their treatment, including repeated testing during their stay in hospital. However, a short self-isolation period will allow for any potential cases of Covid-19 to be identified.
We believe this policy offers a safe balance between limiting the time residents spend in isolation, allowing them to return to a normal life within the care home, while minimising risk to other residents within the care setting.
We will continue to work with public health experts and social care partners to ensure our policies remain consistent with the latest advice.