End the human rights crisis in care, says R&RA

November 12, 2021

The Relatives and Residents Association is calling for urgent action to ‘end the human rights crisis in care.’

The charity submitted evidence to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights outlining that the rights of older people in care settings have been under sustained attack throughout the pandemic.

Welcoming the Committee’s inquiry, R&RA said older people have been failed by the very systems designed to protect their rights and that their fundamental rights to life and wellbeing were neglected in the early stages of the pandemic. Now, 21 months later, R&RA have said rights continue to be breached and people in care face discrimination as the only group still living under stringent Government restrictions whilst the rest of the country gets back to normal.

The following visiting guidance applies:

  • Nominated visitors: regular visits from named people, indoors.
  • Essential caregivers: every resident can choose an essential caregiver for additional, more regular support and companionship.
  • Additional visits: with other relatives/friends outdoors, behind screens/windows or in pods.
  • Exceptional circumstances: for residents nearing the end of life (defined as last year of life) or where there are other 'exceptional circumstances'.

For visits out of the home the guidance says residents should isolate for 14 days on their return from a visit out which involves:

  • An unplanned overnight stay in hospital e.g. an emergency admission.
  • Are assessed as high-risk, following an individual assessment.

Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said, ‘Older people in care are facing a devastating, prolonged attack on their human rights. Failings in the early stages of the pandemic put lives at risk. The Government has swung dramatically to the other extreme and people in care face discrimination as the only group still subject to severe restrictions on movement and contact.

‘Whilst the pandemic has created new, unprecedented challenges, it has also exacerbated pre-existing problems in a sector consistently neglected, not least staff shortages. A ‘perfect storm’ is brewing, putting older people’s safety, dignity and other rights at risk.’

Visit the Government website to find out more about visiting restrictions in care homes.

In other news, A new network of adult social care infection prevention and control champions will be launched on 30th November, to help maintain and continuously improve standards across the care sector.


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