On 4th April 2022 the Westminster Government announced, via the DHSC website, that in England there will no longer be ANY restrictions on visits IN or OUT of care homes – unless there is an outbreak at the home.
While many care homes are embracing this change and returning to open visiting arrangements, some wish to continue denying residents their right to see family and friends.
In order to ensure reluctant care homes, abide by the new advice it’s vital relatives seize the opportunity to challenge unfounded visiting policies – as we don’t expect there will be any further updates now. If you wish for your loved one to have the same rights as others, then you simply must challenge the management / Head Office. It’s not necessary to do this in a confrontational way. In the first instance we advise sending an informal email, or via an informal chat with the manager, to clarify their position and let them know you’re well informed about what should be happening.
1. In the first instance inform them that yourself (and other family members and friends) will now be visiting without booking or giving them advance notice of a visit. Have all the relevant points to hand (outlined in our template letter). It’s important to show you are up to speed with your rights and the new advice from the DHSC.
2. If the care home still refuses to return to pre Covid, open visiting, then send a personalised version of the template letter to the manager / owner and also to the Head Office if it is part of a group.
3. If the care home persists in imposing restrictions – that are no longer backed up by guidance or law – then send a further email stating that you have no alternative but to report them to the regulator and other relevant authorities:
• The Care Quality Commission (CQC)
Telephone: 03000 616161
(reports to the CQC can be made anonymously)
• Head of Adult Social Care at your Local Authority
• The named social worker of your loved one or the local Social Services Department
• You can also contact the helpline of the Relatives & Residents Association for advice and support on 0207 359 8136 (Monday to Friday 9.30am-1pm, and Thursdays 6-8pm) or by emailing: email@example.com
• Your local MP has a duty to act on your behalf and you can call their office to ask them to support you with this issue.
Co-founder – Rights for Residents