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17th February 2022

CQC issues statement on lifting visitor restrictions in care homes

The CQC has issued a statement that urges care homes to follow government guidance that lifts visiting restrictions in care homes.

The Department of Health and Social Care released new guidance on 31st January 2022 which ensures visiting is unrestricted, the CQC said it will follow up instances ‘where we are made aware that this may not be happening’.

It adds: ‘We know the majority of providers are making every effort to follow the latest guidance and we have made clear to them that if something changes, and they are no longer able to do this then they should speak with their CQC inspector as soon as possible.

‘We have continued to investigate concerns we hear about providers not following government guidance on visiting. Our regulatory approach is risk based so that we can focus on providers where we have reason to be concerned. We continue to monitor providers where we have information regarding concerns about visiting.’

Where the regulator identifies any concerns, there is a process that reviews evidence so ‘swift and appropriate regulatory and enforcement actions are taken to ensure people are supported to have visitors,’ it added.

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC said: ‘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.

‘We have also expanded our Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) inspections to gather information on visiting practices, and we have increased the ‘number of IPC inspections over the winter months.’

She added: CQC does not however have the power, under the legislation given to us by Parliament, to compel care homes to inform us of any changes to their visiting status. Similarly, under our legislation we do not have the power to require care homes to report live data on levels of visiting, neither do we have the power to take action against those care homes that are not reporting changes to their visiting status to us.’

Further information

Read the full Statement on visiting in care homes following a change in guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

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