Relatives & Residents Association

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End Isolation In Care: update

Updated 5 January:

Whilst our campaign to End Isolation In Care has made some significant progress (see below), there is still much work to be done. The Government lifted restrictions on visiting in care homes on 25 November, only to re-impose them less than two weeks before Christmas. Whilst the rest of the country was free to enjoy festivities, reconnect with family, even use covid passports to attend large events, people living in care continue to be left behind.

Wrapping people in care homes up in cotton wool is simply not possible, desirable or lawful. People living in care have the same legal rights as the rest of the population to see their relatives and friends, make choices about their lives, enjoy time outside of their care home. We will continue campaigning until this becomes a reality for all residents.

We are calling for:

  • a complete and urgent overhaul of the guidance on visits in and out of care settings
  • the blanket quarantine after visits out to be dropped
  • care homes to comply with their legal duties relating to visiting
  • proactive monitoring of compliance by the regulator
  • the role of Essential Caregiver to be enshrined in law

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

 

Visits inside care homes

Government guidance was updated on 30 December, setting out that homes should facilitate the following types of visits:

  • Named visitors: every resident can nominate three relatives/friends for regular visits inside the care home (plus essential caregivers and preschool-age children)
  • Essential caregivers: in addition to above, every resident can choose someone to visit them even in the event of an outbreak or isolation period – see our suite of info resources
  • End of life visits: for residents nearing the end of life (defined as the last year of life) visits should always be supported, with no limits on the number of visitors

If care homes are not complying with the guidance by facilitating visiting, send them our guide for care providers Visiting and the Law and report concerns to the regulator (see below).

 

Visits out of care homes

Whilst we welcomed changes to the Government guidance dropping the two week quarantine after some visits outside of care homes, we are concerned it is still in place for ‘high risk’ visits out including unplanned overnight hospital stays, and for residents who are not double-vaccinated. We are calling for the blanket quarantine rules to be dropped for all visits out, to protect resident’s rights to liberty, autonomy and access to healthcare.

 

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, 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. 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.

 

Progress so far

Thank you to our supporters who have helped us achieve some significant progress so far, including:

  • We were consulted on the November version of the guidance and successfully lobbied for many changes, including visiting restrictions being lifted, better respect for resident’s autonomy, the need to comply with the Mental Capacity Act, and confirmation that visits shouldn’t be time limited.
  • The two week quarantine after visits outside of care homes has been partly dropped, following our calls alongside other organisations. We will continue to push for this to be fully dropped.
  • Guidance on visits inside care homes grants access to essential caregivers, following our letter to the Prime Minister about this, 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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