A new CQC fundamental standard: Visiting and accompanying in care homes, hospitals and hospices

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) Regulations 2023 introduce us to a new fundamental standard of care with effect from 6 April 2024 – Regulation 9A is entitled “Visiting and accompanying in care homes, hospitals and hospices

It applies to all providers delivering a CQC regulated activity in a care home, hospital or hospice, and provides that unless there are exceptional circumstances,  service users whose care or treatment involves an over night stay or the provision of accommodation, must be facilitated to receive visits; must not be discouraged from taking visits away from the care home, and if their care and treatment doesn’t involve an overnight stay, must be enabled to be accompanied by a family member, friend or person providing support.

Specifically, a provider needs to ensure that visits are appropriate, meet service user’s needs and so far as practicable reflect their preferences; that in relation to being supported to go out, action or precautions are put in place in a proportionate way to facilitate visits and trips out; that when making arrangements or taking decisions due regard is had to care and treatment plans and that relevant people are involved in any decision making.

Nothing requires someone to be taken out or a visit to take place without the person’s consent or where it would not be in their best interests or would be contrary to a Court or Tribunal order.

The practical effect of this new regulation, for the vast majority of services, should simply mean a continuation of what they are doing, but there are a handful of services around the country, post pandemic, who still have very strict restrictions in place that may not always be in the best interests of the people the service supports.

By making the requirement to support visiting, and support trips out, a regulatory requirement, CQC will now be in a position to take action if a provider is failing in this area.

For more information or to receive detailed training on the CQC Fundamental Standards contact our social care team.

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