Today (Wednesday 2 November 2016) we have published information for people living in care homes, their family and friends clarifying their visiting rights and our expectations of providers who are responsible for ensuring people are supported to maintain relationships that are important to them.
As highlighted on today’s BBC 2 Victoria Derbyshire programme and BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours broadcast, we know there are cases where relatives have experienced visiting restrictions, or their loved ones being forced to leave against their wishes, after raising concerns with those in charge of running care homes.
In response to these concerns, and in partnership with partners, we have developed this focused information to help people feel better informed and make sure providers are very clear about their obligations.
Our Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said:
“Care homes are people’s homes. They, their family and friends should not live in fear of being penalised for raising concerns.
“Good providers know this and we see plenty of excellent practice where managers and staff respond to complaints positively and make sure it is as easy as possible for people to visit their loved ones in a welcoming, friendly environment.
“But we know this is not always everyone’s experience, with reports of visiting restrictions and people being forced to leave against their wishes. We also know that too many people are frightened to raise concerns because they think this is going to happen.
“We have published information to clarify people’s rights and our expectations of providers so that people living in care homes, their family and friends can be more confident that their concerns will be listened to and acted upon by providers responsible for delivering safe, compassionate and high quality care.
“As we improve the way we monitor and inspect care services we will explore how we can collect information to give us a greater insight into this issue which we know worries the public and can be an important indicator of a service struggling to provide good care. This will help us to focus our inspection activity and encourage improvement. We will also continue to use our enforcement powers to take action against providers where appropriate for the benefit of those using services.”
For more information about visiting a loved one in a care home, including the rules care homes must follow, see our information on visiting rights in care homes.