• Debbie Thrower

Visiting rights in care homes - what's really happening?

Updated: May 6, 2021

Today's BBC report (5 May 2021) is required reading for all Anna Chaplains and Anna Friends – as too many residents are denied visits from family and friends despite a supposed lifting of the strictest limits imposed when the pandemic was at its height.

The BBC report makes clear that MPs want change: 'The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was "unacceptable" that some care home providers had argued it was not safe to follow government guidance. Since April, care home residents in England have been allowed two regular visitors indoors as lockdown has eased. But the report said providers have not felt bound by the guidance.'

Labour MP Harriet Harman, chairwoman of the committee, said: 'By not underpinning this guidance in law, care homes have not felt bound by it and important rights have therefore not been respected.

'The Care Quality Commission assurances that visits are being allowed properly now in all homes is wholly unconvincing.

'Because care homes see guidance about allowing visits as advisory rather than binding, the government must now bring forward regulations to give their guidance on visits legal force.'

Later in the report, the committee urged the Care Quality Commission to 'get a grip' and ensure more robust processes were in place for monitoring adherence to the guidance by the end of May.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said the regulator had been clear throughout the pandemic that blanket approaches to visiting were unacceptable.

She said that during 941 inspections in the last eight weeks, the CQC had found that 95% of care homes were enabling visiting to happen, and action was taken against the other 5%.

Read the BBC report in full here.