The Care Quality Commission (CQC) today clarified its stance on care home visits after the BBC revealed hundreds of providers had banned residents who complained about their relatives’ care.
The revelations in the Victoria Derbyshire programme prompted calls for greater protection for care home residents and their families.
In a statement issued today, the CQC said: “People’s care and treatment must not be affected if they make a complaint, or if somebody complains on their behalf. As part of our inspection and monitoring we check that people feel comfortable sharing concerns and complaints, and we are keen to hear from people about this. We take action if we find that providers are in breach of the regulations.”
Elderly support group, Action on Elder Abuse, who worked with the CQC on its statement, said it had identified that many older people and their relatives had felt nervous about making complaints to their care provider because they feared repercussions, including eviction.
Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said: “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.
“And unfortunately, these fears are not unfounded. It has been too easy to brand those who make complaints as troublemakers or as a danger to other residents and issue eviction notices. Home should be a sanctuary, but for some of those living in residential care, it has been anything but.
“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.
“We advise anyone who finds a loved one threatened with eviction under these circumstances to raise it urgently with the CQC and, if they need support in doing this, with Action on Elder Abuse.”
To see the CQC’s guidelines on care home visits, click here.