New guidance reinforcing the expectation that people in adult care homes should be able to see their friends and family without restrictions has been published.
The refreshed Open with Care guidelines say that people in care homes should be able to see their friends and family without restrictions such as limits on how often visits can take place or on how many different visitors a person can have. Booking systems for families should only be required when a home is managing a COVID-19 outbreak. Where there is an outbreak, residents should still be supported to see one of their three named visitors.
To reinforce the guidance, the Care Inspectorate will receive an additional £186,000 this year and £90,000 in 2023 to support visiting rights, including dedicated resources for care homes.
Minister for Social Care Kevin Stewart today met staff, residents and relatives at the Erskine Park Home in Bishopton to see how easing restrictions has made it easier for residents to have contact with loved ones, both in and out of the home.
Mr Stewart said:
“The restrictions on visiting introduced early on in the pandemic were necessary to protect staff and residents and curb the spread of the virus, but I am under no illusions as to just how difficult and painful it has been for staff, residents and their loved ones.
“We are pleased to be in the position to move to a ‘new normal’, with the latests Open With Care guidance setting out much less restrictive measures in care homes.
“As we move towards seeing visiting rights embedded in legislation through Anne’s Law, our recent strengthening of rights within the Health and Social Care standards means the right to visit loved ones is already in place. I am also happy to confirm a total of £276,000 additional funding to the Care Inspectorate over the next two years to further its work supporting care homes to get back to a more normal footing and protect visiting rights.
“I am very pleased to be here to thank the staff and hear from them, the residents and their loved ones about how they have managed over the last two years and the difference that it is making now we have been able to open up care homes more.”
Erskine Director of Care Derek Barron said:
“Care homes have been at the forefront of the country’s provision of excellent care to our most vulnerable citizens during the pandemic, a fact often missed by many. The Minister is the first minister to have ‘social care’ in his job title, coming to visit us helps to visually underline the integral part we play in delivering health and social care in this country.”
“We were very pleased that the Minister chose to visit Erskine for his announcement. He took the opportunity to meet our amazing staff, who have worked quietly and relentlessly through the pandemic. They have not only delivered compassionate and quality care, but fundraised to support that care – whilst adapting the charity and its services to the economic, demographic and policy changes, which we anticipate.”
Edith Macintosh, interim Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate, said:
“For residents who live in a care home, having contact with loved ones in what is fundamentally their own home is essential for good mental health and wellbeing.
“The release of today’s revised guidance highlights the importance of people experiencing care having face-to-face contact with their loved ones and provides the framework to support them to do so.
“We welcome the additional funding for the Care Inspectorate to support the implementation of this guidance and to support visiting.
“I want to also thank care services and their dedicated staff for their commitment and professionalism in supporting people through the most challenging of circumstances.”