Care home visiting rights group, John’s Campaign, has issued a High Court challenge to a requirement for residents to isolate for 14 days on isolation on admission or return from an overnight visit.
The application for permission for judicial review was filed at the High Court on Wednesday, 9 June.
Nicci Gerrard of John’s Campaign said: “With every day that passes, and with each grim iteration of its guidance, the government’s treatment of people who live in care homes becomes more damaging and more grotesque.
“It was always cruel to isolate people in homes and to discriminate against them, it was always meaningless and wrong, but suffering is a time-bound process. The 14-day rule punishes people who have committed no crime and treats them as lesser. We call on the government to behave with compassion and decency and change this guidance that has caused so much suffering.”
The grounds for the application, which is supported by the Relatives & Residents Association, have been submitted along with several case studies compiled by John’s Campaign which show the profound impact the 14-day isolation rule is having on residents and their families.
The case studies demonstrate the isolation period has resulted in serious and irreversible decline in some care home residents, with the impact particularly severe on those with disabilities.
They demonstrate the restrictions have even led some residents to refuse home visits even when they were previously a significant part of their lives and care plans, and led some family members to refuse respite care or keep their loved one at home.
The case studies also show the directive has meant many residents have been subject to repeated periods of isolation.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We understand contact with family and friends is vital to the health and wellbeing of residents and we are doing everything we can to provide safe opportunities for people to see their loved ones.
“Residents should be supported to enjoy a range of trips out of the care home, wherever it is safe and proportionate to do so.
“Guidance on visits out of care homes will be kept under review which will include, when the data shows it is safe, looking again at the requirement for residents to isolate on their return from a visit.”
Government guidance on visits out of care homes can be found here.