Relatives & Residents Association

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


End Isolation In Care: update

Updated 19 April:

Our campaign to End Isolation In Care has made some significant progress. Visiting guidance now grants access to essential caregivers, following our letter to the Prime Minister about this, in coalition with five other organisations. In addition, residents will be able to meet with nominated visitors inside the home. Whilst we are concerned that the guidance doesn’t go far enough, these are welcome first steps in ending isolation.

Following R&RA’s evidence to Parliament, the Joint Committee on Human Rights wrote to Matt Hancock asking him to pass a new law on visiting. The Government decided not to take this forward and we remain concerned that families will continue to face barriers without mandatory visiting rules, or monitoring of compliance by the regulator.


Using the guidance to reunite your family

You can use the new guidance to arrange contact with relatives/friends. We have produced a summary of the guidance and the relevant legal duties on care homes to help you with this and our helpline is here to support you.

Care homes should now allow:

  • Nominated visitors: regular visits from two named people, indoors
  • Essential caregivers: additional, more regular support where a person’s presence or support is central to maintaining a resident’s health and wellbeing – see our FAQs and video about this role here
  • Additional visits: with other relatives/friends outdoors, behind screens/windows or in pods
  • Exceptional circumstances: for residents nearing the end of life (now defined as the last year of life) or where there are other ‘exceptional circumstances’

In the event of an outbreak, visits from essential caregivers and in exceptional circumstances should continue.

If care homes are not complying with the guidance, remind them of their legal duties, summarised here.


Blanket approaches

Blanket approaches on visiting are unacceptable. Policies and decisions about visiting must be based on the needs and circumstances of the individual person. This is made clear in the visiting guidance and has been stressed by the regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Individual assessments are required by law under the Equality Act and Human Rights Act, as well by the CQC’s expectation of person-centred care. If your care home is applying blanket rules and not carrying out individual assessments, get in touch with our helpline for support with this.


Visits out of care homes

We are concerned that Government guidance imposing a two week quarantine after visits out of care homes is preventing older people from leaving their home. We are calling for the blanket isolation period to be lifted – find out more and get involved here.


Get more support

If you would like further information or advice on visiting restrictions, please get in touch with the R&RA Helpline. We can help you to explore what the current guidance means for you and your family, and support you to use the guidance and law to negotiate with a care home for better contact.

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