Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) has welcomed new guidance published today (Thursday 3rd November 2016) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regarding visiting rights to care homes.
The campaigning charity worked closely with the CQC in producing the document, advising on the guidelines to reduce the risk of being served with an eviction notice after making a complaint to a care home.
Action on Elder Abuse has identified that many older people and their loved ones feel nervous about making complaints to their care provider regarding poor care because they fear that this may lead to repercussions, including being asked to leave the care setting.
Unfortunately, as several cases have proven, these worries are quite valid. CQC guidance, however, emphasises that this should not be the case, saying: “People’s care and treatment must not be affected if they make a complaint, or if somebody complains on their behalf. As part of our inspection and monitoring we check that people feel comfortable sharing concerns and complaints, and we are keen to hear from people about this. We take action if we find that providers are in breach of the regulations.”
Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said:
“That older people and their families worry that they will be asked to leave their care home if they make a complaint is evidence of just how many older people are living in a culture of fear – fear that their rights and dignity will be eroded and that they will have no recourse to justice.
“And unfortunately, these fears are not unfounded. It has been too easy to brand those who make complaints as troublemakers or as a danger to other residents and issue eviction notices. Home should be a sanctuary, but for some of those living in residential care, it has been anything but.
“These guidelines from the CQC are important, making very clear the rights of older people living in care homes, and those of the friends and loved ones that support them. Raising concerns about the quality of care being provided should never carry with it the threat of eviction, and we are pleased to see the CQC make crystal clear that this should not happen.
“We advise anyone who finds a loved one threatened with eviction under these circumstances to raise it urgently with the CQC and, if they need support in doing this, with Action on Elder Abuse.”
Other issues covered in the CQC guidance include whether a care provider can remove power of attorney, what rights residents have to be visited by loved ones or friends and what a care provider can do if they feel a visitor poses a risk to other residents or staff.