Relatives & Residents Association

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


Using the law reunites couple

Deborah used to have daily visits from her husband Tony in her care home prior to the pandemic. The visits became confined to 30 minutes in the car park, with no shade and no chairs. On a particularly hot day, Tony, who is in his 80s, lowered his mask to take a sip of water, needing to keep hydrated for medical reasons. As a result Deborah was placed in isolation and Tony’s visits were stopped. Both were distraught that they would again be separated so their daughter, Lisa, called the Relatives & Residents Association Helpline.

R&RA’s advisor informed Lisa about Deborah’s legal right to family life, and about being able to choose an essential caregiver as set out in the Government’s visiting guidance. The advisor also discussed Deborah getting her own visiting plan, which should focus on how to support her relationship with her husband and balance the risk of COVID-19 against her wellbeing. The R&RA advisor also highlighted that the home should ensure that residents and vulnerable visitors are protected from high temperatures and should have a policy around this. The advisor sent Lisa R&RA’s guide ‘Visiting and the Law’, which explains the relevant legal duties on providers.

Lisa emailed R&RA 24hours later to say that after sharing this information with the home, and making a formal complaint, Deborah was immediately removed from isolation and Tony was able to visit in her room. The home went on to purchase two gazebos for external visits and now ensure that residents receive drinks during the visits to stay hydrated.


R&RA’s suite of resources on the essential caregiver role are available here.

We are campaigning to End Isolation In Care. Find out more here.

If you have been affected by the issues raised in this story, or would like advice or support on visiting your relative or friend in care, please contact our helpline.


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