Visitation for learning disability services

June 10, 2020

Care England has provided a statement on visitation for learning disability services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says, 'As the rest of the country looks towards the new normal there is very little guidance for care settings in managing the release of lockdown. Care England has therefore developed its own statement for its learning disability members focusing on the potential benefits of fresh air, exercise and carefully managed meetings with family or friends.'

Providers are already aware of the role that friends and family play in supporting their loved ones. The primary concern for many providers is always the health and wellbeing of all the individuals they support and their staff, says Care England. With that in mind, the organisation is offering this statement on visitation for learning disability services, stating that it is important to find ways of supporting increased contact with families and friends; however it is equally important that this is approached in a way that is safe, sensible and does not undo all of the efforts so many care providers have made to date.

Care England warns that decisions will need to be revisited as necessary in light of what is likely to be fast-changing guidance in response to the numbers infected and whether these are rising or continue to fall. Such decisions will be vital in mitigating the probability and severity of a second peak.

Martin Green continues, 'The starting point for decision-making must be safety, transparency and a human rights-based approach. Clearly, we cannot ease restrictions for the rest of society while keeping people with care and support needs locked down indefinitely. But the move towards increased liberty of movement must be accompanied by ongoing person-centred risk assessments and with due regard to the safety of other service users and staff.'

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