During the Covid-19 pandemic, care homes residents were prevented from seeing family and friends for long periods of time, which negatively impacted the residents’ health and well-being. Recognizing the detrimental effects of such a prohibition, the Care Inspectorate has stated that everyone residing in care homes has a right to meaningful connections. “Every adult and older person living in a care home has the right to connect with family, friends and community. They have the right to have visits and go out if they wish. Care homes should support this and not put barriers or restrictions in place.”1
Two new Health and Social Care Standards (5.16 and 5.17) support this right to have visits, even in the case of an outbreak of infectious disease.
“5.16 [If] I am an adult living in a care home and restrictions to routine visiting are needed to prevent infection, I can nominate relatives/friends (and substitutes) to visit me. My nominated relatives/friends will be supported by the care home to see me in person day-to-day and to be directly involved in providing my care and support if that is what I want.
“5.17 If I am an adult living in a care home, I can nominate relatives/friends (and substitutes), who will be supported by the care home to be directly involved in providing my day-to-day care and support if that is what I want.”2
All registered care homes for adults and older people must meet these standards, which the Care Inspectorate uses during its regulatory activity to assess outcomes for people. To assist care homes in complying with these new standards, the Care Inspectorate has published “The new Health and Social Care Standards for visiting and staying connected: Guidance for providers.”
In addition, Anne’s Law has been introduced in the Scottish legislation as part of the National Care Service Bill. “Anne’s Law is a piece of planned Scottish legislation which is intended to strengthen the rights of people living in adult and older people’s care homes to see and spend time with the people who are important to them, even in the event of an outbreak of infectious disease. It recognises that meaningful contact is a fundamental right and is essential to supporting health and wellbeing.”3
Family members of those in care homes began the campaign to enact the right to visit into law. In 2020, a petition to the Scottish Parliament called for the government to allow a designated visitor into care homes to support loved ones. This petition gathered widespread support. Anne’s Law, if passed, will enshrine visiting rights into law.
For more information on visiting, meaningful connection, and Anne’s Law, see the Care Inspectorate’s dedicated webpage.
3: https://www.careinspectorate.com/images/Meaningful_Connection_Annes_Law/Annes_law_project_-_Fact_sheet.pdf https://www.careinspectorate.com/index.php/visiting-meaningful-connection-anne-s-law https://www.careinspectorate.com/images/Meaningful_Connection_Annes_Law/Meaningful_connection_fact_sheet_-_Supporting_meaningful_connection.pdf