Care Homes: Visiting with Care – A Pathway

‘Visiting With Care – A Pathway’ was developed by the Public Health Agency, working with representatives from the statutory sector, representatives from various relatives’ groups and independent healthcare providers.  It sets out an agreed new approach to supporting safe and proportionate increased visiting in care homes. This includes updated arrangements for the safe management of care home residents receiving visitors, as well as residents being able to visit other households, community facilities and take part in excursions.


Latest update:  at 29 June 2022

The PCC has received the news that, “the Department has accepted the recommendation that visiting arrangements in Care Homes should now be facilitated within the parameters set out in the fourth and final full stage of the Pathway – “Preparing for the Future”. This will take effect from 1 July.

This is a very positive step in our efforts to return to normalised visiting arrangements.

This means when a care home is not in outbreak:

  • There should be no restrictions on the number of visits or visitors for any resident. Please maintain use of booking system for visits in the first instance.
  • Visiting can happen in residents own room, or by arrangement in common areas around the care home.
  • Residents can leave the home as and when they wish
  • Overnight stays are permissible.

COVID-19 remains a risk to care homes residents, we strongly encourage families to respect requests from care home staff to continue to follow IPC advice.


Visiting in Care Homes Newsletter 

The PHA plan to develop regular newsletters to outline how visiting in care homes will evolve to support meaningful experience for residents, families, loved ones and care home staff and also optimise protection from COVID-19 transmission. Since March 2021 the Public Health Agency (PHA) along with colleagues in the Department of Health (DoH) have worked with family members, RQIA, Health and Social Care Trusts and other stakeholders to design the Visiting with Care – A Pathway. In addition to the arrangements set out in the Pathway, each resident can nominate two Care Partners, who will be able to have ongoing contact with the resident in almost all circumstances.

Visiting In Care Homes Newsletter Issue 1

Visiting In Care Homes Newsletter Issue 2 – June 2022

Visiting In Care Homes Newsletter – August 2022 


How the PCC can help: The PCC are active in supporting members of the public on this issue through both advocacy and engagement work – through individual advocacy cases where caseworkers are assigned on a 1-1 basis, and through collective advocacy, primarily directed through the Engagement Platform.

?If you would like to get involved or find out more Freephone 0800 9170 222 or contact:


Helpful Q&A Video 

The PHA’s Dr David Cromie, Donna Duffy, who has a relative in a care home, and Lorna, a resident from Summerhill Care Home Belfast, have recently took part in a Question & Answer session talking about visiting in care homes and how care homes can stay safe as we progress through the Visiting with Care Pathway.

Click on the image below to watch this Q&A in full (approx.7 minutes)

This video was co-produced by the Patient and Client Council, DOH, PHA and members of the public/ relevant engagement platforms in an effort to enhance communication around this topic.


For more information on this topic, please visit: COVID-19: Visiting in Care Settings in Northern Ireland | Department of Health (


Related articles

  • For Questions and Answers in relation to visiting in care homes including a link to the ‘Visiting with Care- A Pathway visit
  • Care Partners – Care Partner Leaflet and Visitor Information – February 2022 This information provides clarity for families and loved ones of residents in Care Homes in relation to Visiting and Care Partner arrangements. Please note in the updated guidance, the Care Partner scheme has been extended to Hospitals and Hospices where permitted.