Care home Covid rules STILL stopping family visits, campaigners warn

Care home Covid rules are STILL stopping family visits, campaigners warn

  • Some care homes ‘coming up with their own rules’ placing restrictions on visits 
  • Guidance states visits should be unrestricted unless there is a Covid outbreak 
  • Families ‘terrified’ of raising an issue as they fear their loved one may be evicted

Restrictions introduced during the pandemic are still stopping visitors seeing family in care homes, campaigners have warned.

Guidance set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) states that visits should be unrestricted unless there is a Covid outbreak in a home, in which event ‘each resident should be able to have one visitor at a time’.

But some care homes are ‘coming up with their own rules’ and placing restrictions on visits, campaigners said.

Diane Mayhew, from the charity Rights For Residents, said she has heard from ‘devastated’ families who believe they are being prevented from seeing their loved ones.

‘The key issue is that guidance clearly states every resident is entitled to have a visitor during an outbreak, and it doesn’t have to be a named person,’ she said. ‘It can be somebody different each time.’ But Mrs Mayhew added: ‘A woman this morning called me to say her grandfather is in a nursing home and her grandmother, who was deemed the essential caregiver during Covid, is now too frail to go in and see him. So the grandmother can’t go, but they won’t let any of the other family visit either. He is now totally without any visits if there’s a Covid outbreak.’

Guidance set by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) states that visits should be unrestricted unless there is a Covid outbreak in a home, in which event ‘each resident should be able to have one visitor at a time’. But some care homes are ‘coming up with their own rules’ and placing restrictions on visits, campaigners said

She said another woman had contacted her about an outbreak of Covid in her mother’s care home in York, where residents are being told to isolate and not mix in communal areas even if they test negative. Mrs Mayhew added: ‘It’s inevitable that if [homes] take new residents into care there’s a risk Covid is going to get in. If staff are going to pubs, clubs and weddings, there’s a risk they’re going to take Covid in. Why have we bothered vaccinating [residents] if we are not prepared to take a small risk?’

She claimed some families are ‘terrified’ of raising the issue with nursing homes out of fear that their loved one may be evicted.

It comes as a report today warns the slow progress on enabling care home visits could risk breaching residents’ human rights.

The joint committee on human rights said rules brought in during Covid are still preventing family access. One section of the report reads: ‘Age UK told us that they had heard reports that visiting policy in some settings ‘continues to be more restrictive than current guidance recommends’.

‘The pandemic has once again highlighted the lack of protection for residents and their right to private and family life.’

Kate Terroni, CQC chief inspector of adult social care, said: ‘Our expectation remains that care homes follow government guidance – which is now to ensure visiting is unrestricted and we will follow up in instances where we are made aware that this may not be happening.’ 

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