Friends and family legally entitled to visit loved ones in care homes, says judge

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A leading judge has said friends and family are legally entitled to visit their loved ones in care homes after the government effectively banned routine visits in areas of high COVID infection.

Mr Justice Hayden, vice-president of the court of protection said contact with friends and visits was “lawful”, The Guardian reported.

The leading judge was responding to government guidance on visits, which states that visits in areas of high infection should be limited to exceptional circumstances only, such as end of life.

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His intervention comes amidst growing calls from call leaders for the updating of care home guidance to enable visits to continue during lockdown.

A coalition of over 60 organisations brought together by the National Care Forum (NCF) has sent an open letter to Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, and Minister for Care, Helen Whately, urging the government to enable care home visits.

The government announced plans for a pilot visitor scheme last month whereby a designated visitor would be given access to testing and PPE by being classed as a key worker without naming a date for the programme.

A spokesperson for the DHSC said: “We know limiting visits in care homes has been incredibly difficult for many families, but our first priority remains the prevention of infections to protect the lives of vulnerable residents.”

Tags : Legal Advice

The author Lee Peart

1 Comment

  1. As a Care Home Manager I understand that at the moment it is incredibly hard for our residents not to receive visitors, but there is never any mention of the risks to the staff and their families who would be potentially put at risk by people coming into the care home. My staff team and I have worked incredibly hard to keep Covid out of our home and have so far been able to , but we are living and working by the rules, and not everyone else is, if they were then the infection wouldn’t be on the rise. Who would test these visitors?? I already test my staff weekly and the residents monthly and don’t have the time to test 25+ visitors each week aswell, plus I have to then place trust in them that their PPE is clean and hasn’t been reused or that they have not been in contact with anyone whilst wearing it. We have been giving visitors limited contact in our garden, but still they are passing things to residents or touching them eventhough they know they aren’t supposed to, this is putting every resident, staff member and our families at risk, and many visitors still aren’t getting this. Yes the residents have a right to see their visitors, but the other residents and my staff have a right to live without the fear of infection in our home which has the potential to kill.

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