The CQC has warned against blanket decision-making as care homes in England prepare to open their doors to visitors.
Providers have been told: “The focus must always be on the individual needs and rights of the person. [Providers] mustn’t wait for the completion of the vaccination program to facilitate visits.”
DHSC has announced that from March 8 that each care home resident in England can have one regular visitor (with tests required before entry and PPE to be worn on site).
Ahead of new guidance for the new visiting protocol, and to avoid blanket decision-making, the CQC advises that providers must:
- work within government guidance
- seek advice from their Director of Public Health and Director of Adult Social Services
- apply appropriate infection, prevention and control measures (IPC)
- consider the home environment
- give sufficient weight to local risks.
Incidents that may trigger a risk inspection include:
- blanket visiting bans (where there is no active outbreak)
- people being discouraged from having regular calls with loved ones
- people not being effectively supported to communicate with relatives and groups that represent them
- people not being allowed to see visiting professionals.
According to the CQC, limiting visits to care homes can have a particular impact for:
- people living with dementia
- people with a learning disability and autistic people
- Black, Asian and minority ethnic people living in care homes, if they are more likely to rely on their visitors to have their cultural or language needs met
- lesbian, gay, bisexual people and transgender people living in care homes, if they are more likely to rely on their visitors for their social and community contact
- people in religious minority groups within the care home, if they are more likely to rely on their visitors to have their spiritual needs met
- deaf people who use British Sign Language
CQC says: “There is a need to balance safety through good IPC and the human rights of individuals to see their loved ones. We expect everyone to work together across their local system to enable visiting.”
In addition, there is a joint statement published by Relatives and Residents Association, National Care Forum and the Care Provider Alliance, as well as current government guidance for visits up to March 8.