Our recently established Action on Rights team launched at the end of February, and are there to support families of anyone living in a care home in Scotland to access meaningful visits and to support the understanding of the Open with Care guidance.
The team have been dealing with a number of complex and, understandably, highly emotional cases. Many callers have been experiencing emotional distress from not having had meaningful contact with their family members or friends living in a care home, and required emotional and practical support to prepare for the first visit, particularly in relation to coping with seeing potential changes and deterioration in the physical and mental wellbeing of their family member. Some of the emerging themes from enquiries so far include:
- A variation with both the interpretation and implementation of the Open with Care guidance
- Cases where care homes have been creating their own guidance, which departs from the national guidance
- Some care homes just not allowing visits at all
- Additional restrictions on visits, such as strict time limits of 30 minutes
- Poor communication between the care homes and the family and friends of residents
We know there is a long way to go, and there are still challenges in accessing meaningful visits, however the Action on Rights team are making a difference. The team have been supporting people to confidently speak with the care home, and have been liaising directly with care homes to help facilitate essential or designated visits, which has had positive impact on their and their loved ones wellbeing. The team have provided a great deal of emotional support and have received feedback that this has helped to reduce anxiety. Families and relatives have been telling us that there has been a sense of comfort, not only in sharing their experiences but also being listened to, with some solutions being identified following interaction with the Action on Rights Team.