CQC guidance spells-out residents’ rights
The Care Quality commission has published information for people living in care homes, their family and friends clarifying their visiting rights and the regulator’s expectations of providers who are responsible for ensuring people are supported to maintain relationships that are important to them.
CQC chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said the regulator was aware of cases where relatives had experienced visiting restrictions, or their loved ones being forced to leave against their wishes, after raising concerns with those in charge of running care homes.
“In response to these concerns, and in partnership with partners, we have developed this focused information to help people feel better informed and make sure providers are very clear about their obligations,” said Ms Sutcliffe.
“Care homes are people’s homes. They, their family and friends should not live in fear of being penalised for raising concerns
“Good providers know this and we see plenty of excellent practice where managers and staff respond to complaints positively and make sure it is as easy as possible for people to visit their loved ones in a welcoming, friendly environment.
“But we know this is not always everyone’s experience, with reports of visiting restrictions and people being forced to leave against their wishes. We also know that too many people are frightened to raise concerns because they think this is going to happen.
“We have published information to clarify people’s rights and our expectations of providers so that people living in care homes, their family and friends can be more confident that their concerns will be listened to and acted upon by providers responsible for delivering safe, compassionate and high quality care.
“As we improve the way we monitor and inspect care services we will explore how we can collect information to give us a greater insight into this issue which we know worries the public and can be an important indicator of a service struggling to provide good care.
“This will help us to focus our inspection activity and encourage improvement. We will also continue to use our enforcement powers to take action against providers where appropriate for the benefit of those using services.”
Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) worked closely with the CQC in producing the document, and chief executive Gary FitzGerald said the charity had identified that many older people and their loved ones feet nervous about making complaints to their care provider regarding poor care because they feared this may lead to repercussions, including being asked to leave the care setting.
“That older people and their families worry that they will be asked to leave their care home if they make a complaint is evidence of just how many older people are living in a culture of fear – fear that their rights and dignity will be eroded and that they will have no recourse to justice,” said Mr FitzGerald.
“These guidelines from the CQC are important, making very clear the rights of older people living in care homes, and those of the friends and loved ones that support them.
“Raising concerns about the quality of care being provided should never carry with it the threat of eviction, and we are pleased to see the CQC make crystal clear that this should not happen.”
Other issues covered in the CQC guidance include whether a care provider can remove power of attorney, what rights residents have to be visited by loved ones or friends and what a care provider can do if they feel a visitor poses a risk to other residents or staff.