Relatives & Residents Association

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


End Isolation In Care: update

Updated 7 November 2022:


During the lockdowns for Covid-19 and beyond, it became all too apparent that people living in care homes simply weren’t having their rights respected.

People can’t just be wrapped up in cotton wool. It’s not possible, desirable – or lawful.

People living in care were isolated from their loved ones for weeks or months on end. This meant that older people were deprived of their liberty and could not see friends or family – often with devastating results for their health and wellbeing.

Since September 2020, our campaign to End Isolation In Care has made significant progress, but there is still much to be done. While the rest of the country has got back to normal, people needing care are being left behind, still living under Government guidance.

We are calling for:

  • a new legal right to a ‘care supporter’ – the Care Minister met us to discuss options for this
  • proportionate responses to outbreaks, focusing on the rights of care users
  • care providers to comply with their legal duties relating to visiting
  • proactive monitoring of compliance by the regulator

Use our materials below and get in touch if you would like more support.


Current Government guidance on visits in and out of care settings

Government guidance was overhauled on 31 March, setting out:

  • All visitors: “there should not normally be any restrictions to visits into or out of the care homes” 
  • End of life visits: should “always be supported”
  • During outbreaks: even in the event of an outbreak, or where a resident has confirmed covid, every resident should continue to have access to one visitor at a time – see our outbreak FAQs

See our summary of visiting guidance on what care homes must do to comply with the guidance.


What if your care home isn’t complying?

If care providers are not complying with the guidance by facilitating visiting, send them our guide Visiting and the Law and report concerns to the regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). If providers are not following the guidance, there’s a chance they will also be failing to comply with their legal duties under the Equality Act, Human Rights Act, Mental Capacity Act and the CQC’s regulations. Let the CQC know and get in touch with our helpline for support with this.


Get more support

If you would like further information or advice on visiting restrictions, please get in touch with the R&RA Helpline.


Campaign successes

Thanks to our amazing supporters we’ve made significant progress towards making lives better for care home residents, including:

  • The guidance has been further updated, incorporating changes we called for in April 2022, including adding flexibility in visitors wearing face coverings, ensuring they can be removed where they hinder communication or when a visitor is eating/drinking
  • The guidance was overhauled in March 2022 with many of our calls answered, including a focus on resident’s legal rights to contact with family and dropping the rule allowing only one designated essential caregiver during outbreaks which was causing carer burnout
  • Blanket quarantine after visits outside of care homes was dropped, following our calls alongside other organisations
  • In 2021 residents were granted access to essential caregivers, following our letter to the Prime Minister, in coalition with five other organisations
  • Following R&RA’s evidence to Parliament, the Joint Committee on Human Rights wrote to the Secretary of State calling for immediate action to reconnect care home residents with their family/friends

There is still much work to do. Follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook or sign up to our eNews to stay up to date on the latest campaign news.

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