Landmark shift: visiting rights elevated to fundamental standard of care by health department

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced changes that will be made to law protecting visiting rights around care homes, hospitals and hospices. With these new changes, visits are now considered a basic fundamental standard of care, comparable to having access to food and drink and appropriately qualified staff

The Care Quality Commission has been given a “clear mandate” to check that providers were meeting obligations on visiting, including identifying any breaches and applying more pressure to healthcare settings that did not follow guidance.

The goal of this policy is that the government wants to guarantee that visits are safe and continues to be a top concern for health and care professionals. For the residents, a care facility is and should always feel like home, with visitors being granted appropriate and fair access as they have the potential to significantly impact patients’ health and recuperation. The opportunity to have friends and relatives visiting can promote social interactions and make patients feel more at peace.

Residents of care homes and hospitals eagerly anticipate the coming year with keen interest as visits are now considered a fundamental standard of care.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office, NHS Manchester, “The Trust understands how important it is for patients to have visitors during their time with us and how a visit from a friend or family member can boost morale and help recovery. Visiting is encouraged and supported across all sites overseen by the Trust. Please note COVID-19 related restrictions are no longer in force.”