The Joint Committee on Human Rights begins taking evidence as part of its new inquiry into protecting human rights in care settings today at 3pm, Wednesday 12th January.
In this opening session, the Committee will hear from people with family members in care settings and representatives of campaign groups Rights for Residents, Age UK, and the Relatives and Residents Association.
The new inquiry aims to understand how the human rights of people in care settings, and their families, can be secured and protected. Human rights in care settings covers a number of issues. During the Covid pandemic, many residents of care homes were subject to blanket bans and other restrictions on visiting, which in some cases have remained in place despite other COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed. Examples of concerns beyond the pandemic include the use of restraints and confinement, decision-making over treatment and the use of do-not-resuscitate notices, as well as cases of mistreatment or neglect.
In this first session, the Committee will get an overview of the key human rights concerns. The Committee will take evidence from two witnesses with close relatives in the care system and will hear about their experience of visiting restrictions and their perspective on how human rights can be better secured. This will be followed by questions to campaign groups and experts examining the range of human rights issues in the sector and the quality of complaints mechanisms when failings come to light.
Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said, ‘Our helpline hears daily about the devastating impact isolation is having on people living in care. Lifelong bonds have been broken, relationships damaged, people with dementia think they’ve been abandoned. Untold damage to health and wellbeing is being caused by the response to the pandemic, in the name of keeping people safe.’
Visit the UK Parliament website to watch live at 3pm today.