Relatives & Residents Association

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End Isolation In Care: update

Updated 17 August:

Whilst our campaign to End Isolation In Care has made some significant progress (see below), there is still much work to be done. As the Government lifted restrictions across the country on 19 July, they reissued guidance for care homes with minimal changes. Now people in care face wholesale discrimination as the only group in England still subject to restrictions on fundamental everyday decisions. The difference in treatment is now vast and astonishing.

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, get out and enjoy the summer. We will continue campaigning until this becomes a reality for all residents.

We are calling for, right now:

  • 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
  • a government strategy on reopening care homes
  • care homes 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.

 

Visits inside care homes

Care homes should now allow:

  • Nominated visitors: for regular, indoor visits
  • Essential caregivers: for every resident, additional, more regular support and companionship – see our suite of info resources
  • Additional visits: with other relatives/friends outdoors, behind screens/windows or in pods
  • Exceptional circumstances: for residents nearing the end of life (defined as the last year of life) or where there are other ‘exceptional circumstances’

In the event of an outbreak, visits should continue from essential caregivers (except where they or the resident have tested positive) and in exceptional circumstances. Window/pod visits can also continue in an outbreak.

If care homes are not complying with the guidance by allowing these different types of visits, send them our guide for care providers Visiting and the Law. You can also use our updated summary of the guidance and law to remind them of their legal duties.

 

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. We are calling for the blanket quarantine rules to be dropped for all visits out, to protect resident’s rights to liberty and to access 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:

  • 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 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.

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


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