Relatives & Residents Association

We support, inform and speak on behalf of older people in care

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The year in review

22 December 2021:

This has been another incredibly challenging year for older people needing care and their relatives and friends. The pandemic and measures taken to manage it continue to have a devastating impact on the rights of care users. Staff shortages are crippling the sector, putting the safety and dignity of people using services at risk. R&RA has been working hard to support families via our helpline and ensure the voices of older people are heard in policy debates and in the media. Our campaign to End Isolation In Care has achieved some notable successes, as outlined below, but much work needs to be done to ensure older people can enjoy the same rights as everyone else.

Older people in care face another Christmas being left behind. Whilst the rest of the country is free to enjoy Christmas parties and reconnect with families, Government guidance now tells residents they can only see three ‘visitors’ and an essential caregiver. And they will be the lucky ones – our helpline has been busy supporting families unable to even get this.

Too many lives have been lost too soon, not just from the virus but from the draconian measures adopted to manage it. This festive season our thoughts will be with the families and friends left behind and with all those unable to be together. We will come back fighting in 2022, refreshed and as determined as ever to support and be the voice of older people needing care and their families. We thank you all our members and supporters for your continued support during this difficult time, it means so much to us.

Review of the year:

  • Expressed disappointment at the white paper on reform of social care having already outlined our concerns with the cap on care costs, Dec
  • Co-signed a letter to political leaders calling for protection of our human rights law, Dec
  • Produced a video sharing the story of Frances, 100 years old, and the continued isolation she and others face in care homes as part of our campaign to End Isolation In Care, Nov
  • Shared another family story of reunification after support from our helpline and using our guide Visiting and the Law, Oct
  • Created a new app and video on oral health care, ready to pilot with care workers when the staffing crisis has settled down, Oct
  • Joined the stakeholder group at the Department of Health and Social Care, successfully lobbying for easing of visiting restrictions in care homes and better respect for rights (sadly now partly reversed), Sept
  • Wrote to the Prime Minister calling for urgent moves to be made to set up the public inquiry into the handling of the pandemic, August
  • Spoke at All Party Parliamentary Group for Ageing and Older People about the Government’s neglect of the sector undermining the rights of care users, July
  • Supported a legal challenge against Government visiting guidance, taken by John’s Campaign, which partly ended the discriminatory policy of residents being isolated for 14 days on return from visits out, June
  • Expressed disappointment and despair at the Care Quality Commission’s abdication of responsibility, leaving older people in care at risk in a letter exchange with the regulator, May
  • Co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for reform of social care with 28 organisations and Parliamentarians, April
  • Published videos and FAQs about the role of essential caregiver, April
  • Submitted evidence to the review of the Human Rights Act expressing concern about moves to weaken rights protections, March
  • Urged the Care Quality Commission to take a proactive role in monitoring care home compliance with visiting guidance, Feb
  • Wrote to the Prime Minister urging the reopening of care homes, successfully lobbying for the introduction of essential caregivers, Feb
  • Gave evidence to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights about visiting and human rights in care homes – the Committee’s hard-hitting report echoing many of our calls, Jan
  • Shared the voices of our helpline clients in over 300 media appearances throughout the year, across TV, radio and in print

It has been a time of change for R&RA too:

  • Programme of transformation underway, with a new consultant recruited to help us review our brand and create a new website
  • Recruited five new trustees bringing an exciting new mix of skills and expertise to our Board
  • Held our first virtual AGM with speeches from our Chair and Director
  • Recruiting a new Policy and Research Officer to help support our helpline and increase policy work
  • Created a ‘lived experience’ group of members and supporters willing to get involved in media work, research and other activities – email us for more details

Please consider donating or becoming a member of R&RA this holiday season.

Please note R&RA will be shut from the 24th December until 4th January. You can email us or leave voice messages in the interim, and we will respond to you on our return.


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