Call to lift the care home quarantine

April 22, 2021

The Relatives and Residents’ Association (R&RA) is calling on the Government to lift the blanket 14- day quarantine for care home residents who make visits out of a care setting.

R&RA said Imposing a blanket quarantine on visits out is ‘arbitrary, unfair and interferes with resident’s right to liberty (protected by Article 5 of the Human Rights Act).’ The guidance is facing a legal challenge by campaign group John’s Campaign.  R&RA said the guidance should be amended to make it clear that health appointments should always be facilitated and supported and the association also added that with the average stay in a care home just two years, older people should be supported to have a good quality of life and enjoy the time they have left.

It's important to note that the Government guidance relating to visits out of care homes, and the quarantine period, relates to residents of all ages -  not just older adults in care homes.

Care Home residents, under the latest Government guidance, are unable to leave their care home to exercise their inalienable right to vote in person, since if they do head out to the voting booth, they will find themselves facing 14 days of isolation on their return. The National Care Forum (NCF) agree with R&RA that the 14-day isolation guidance is inappropriate. NCF said that in a country that prides itself on being the cornerstone of democracy, to exclude around half a million people from being able to vote the way they want to is ‘unthinkable.’

Vic Rayner, CEO of the National Care Forum (NCF), said, ‘The whole experience of voting for the majority of people living in care homes will have been in person, often for many years at the same polling station, going through the motions in a way that is both familiar and a connection to wider society. Getting the vote is a rite of passage. Losing the right to vote in person is a national scandal.”

The Human Rights Committee invited The Care Quality Commission (CQC) to share its insights into how the regulating body is monitoring, inspecting and regulating visits in care settings during the pandemic. The Committee also made reference to the 14-day quarantine period. This week, questions were put forward to Chief inspector of Adult Social Care, Kate Terroni and Chair, Peter Wyman CBE. You can watch the full Committee meeting here.

The CQC said that they are doing what they can to ensure people can visit their loved ones safely. The Human Rights Committee is keen to determine how many care homes are complying to the visiting guidance and questioned the CQC on how data is collated and monitored.

Helen Wildbore, Director of Residents’ and Relatives Association (R&RA) said in response to the two weeks’ quarantine after visits out of care homes, ‘The response was very disappointing. Residents have faced a double isolation of restrictions on visitors coming in and restrictions on being able to go out. Our helpline hears the serious impact this is having on people’s wellbeing. Older people living in care are being left behind, unable to get out, enjoy the spring and reconnect with family and friends like the rest of the country. The blanket quarantine should be lifted as a matter of urgency.

On CQC’s evidence presented in The Human Rights Committee, Helen Wildbore added, ‘This shows how out of touch the CQC is with what is happening on the ground. Our helpline continues to hear from families unable to get visits, where care homes are applying blanket approaches – such as 30mins visits – and failing to carry out individual assessments to ensure people’s wellbeing needs are met. The regulator should not be waiting for families to tell them about problems during this crisis, especially as so many are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals, including eviction. That’s why we called on the CQC to take a proactive approach to monitoring compliance with the visiting guidance. For the regulator to be failing to actively monitor compliance and using their lack of data to report to Parliament that all is well is totally unacceptable.’

 

Visit the Government website to the full guidance on visits out of care homes.

 

 


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