The CQC has said it expects care home providers to follow government guidance on visiting during the Christmas period.
In a statement last week, the regulator said it has continued to investigate concerns about providers not following government guidance on visiting.
Concerns have been raised in relation to 54 potential blanket bans, 19 of which have been raised in the last six months.
The CQC said it has taken action in every case, including following up with providers, inspecting, raising safeguarding alerts where applicable and following up with local authorities.
The regulator does not have the power to compel care homes to provide notification of any changes to visiting policy or require providers to report on levels of visiting.
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, (pictured) said: “The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on many people and we know it has been particularly difficult for those who are living in care homes and their families and loved ones. It is important that people are able to spend time with their loved ones over the festive season, including Christmas Day and New Year.
“We have taken decisive action throughout the pandemic to help keep people safe in care settings including undertaking almost 10,000 inspections, and making absolutely clear to providers that not following government guidance is unacceptable and may trigger an inspection. Where concerns have been raised with us in relation to visiting we have taken action in every case, including following up with providers, inspecting, taking regulatory action and where applicable, raising safeguarding alerts with local authorities.
“We continue to seek assurances from care home providers about how they are supporting visiting to happen and we are verifying this information when we go out and inspect and will continue to do so. We have introduced a mandatory question on each of our care home inspections which looks at how visiting is being supported to happen in a safe way.”
The CQC told CHP it had met again with Barchester Healthcare following its announcement last week it had limited routine visits to essential care givers only and emphasised it would take further action if it was concerned as a result of guidance not being followed.