Visiting our family and care homes – policy and regulations

The service welcomes all visitors, whether they are the relatives or friends, of a resident. All visitors who visit the service are required to sign the visitors’ book both when arriving and when leaving the service.

The service has a duty of care towards all residents in its care. The service is committed to working to meet the needs of residents and their visitors whilst also promoting safety, privacy, dignity, and infection control.

This policy was reviewed to reflect visit arrangements during coronavirus pandemic.

Aim

The service and its employees are committed to providing a high standard of care to its residents and are committed to giving consideration to the needs of the resident’s visitors. In the service visitors are made welcome and comfortable during their visit and are treated with courtesy and respect.

Scope

The policy applies to everyone visiting the service for any purpose whatsoever, and to all staff in their treatment of visitors. It provides guidance for residents on what they can expect when they have visitors or make arrangements to have them.

Definitions

A visitor is defined as someone, who does not reside or normally work in the service as a paid staff member or as an accredited volunteer and who comes to the service for a short period of time in order to see residents or staff or management.

For the purposes of this policy visitors include people who:

  1. Deliver, provide, or supply goods and services that have been bought or instructed by the service, its staff, or residents, including repairs and maintenance
  2. Provide professional services to residents such as GPs, community nurses, pharmacists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, ministers of religion, social workers, advocates, hairdressers, opticians
  3. Visit residents on a personal or social basis regularly or occasionally, such as relatives, friends, and others who come to see an individual resident
  4. Come to the service to see staff members for any reason
  5. Visit the service on a professional or business basis, such as inspectors, accountants, and other personnel from an external organisation.

Visiting arrangements

Residents may receive visitors at any times which are acceptable and reasonable to them. There may be occasions when a resident finds it difficult or inconvenient to receive a visitor, because of ill health or where the resident does not feel up to having a visitor. However, any such decisions to refuse or postpone a visit will be determined by the circumstances, which apply at the time, but the wishes of the resident will always remain paramount.

Residents have the right to receive visitors in the privacy of their own room and for the purpose of the visits to remain private. Where it is inconvenient or uncomfortable to use the residents own room, the service will make other more suitable arrangements in accordance with the resident’s wishes.

As part of its general approach to customer service, the members of staff are expected to treat every visitor courteously and to make them feel welcome and comfortable. Where visitors must wait to see the person, they have come to see, they should be offered a comfortable seat and refreshments.

Where staff encounter someone, they do not know or who seems lost or uncomfortable in the service it is appropriate to ask them politely whether they need help and whom they are there to see.

Staff should make enquiries about the nature and purpose of any visits only where the resident is evidently vulnerable to harm or injury or there is evidence that the resident may have been subject to some form of abuse or threat as a result of a previous visit or the previous actions of a visitor.

Normally the service will get to know whom a resident has or wishes to have as a visitor. Where a resident receives a visit from an apparent stranger or at an unusual or irregular time it is appropriate to ask the resident first whether he or she wishes to receive the visitor.

In coming across strangers, it may be appropriate and reasonable for staff to enquire about the identity of the person and the nature and purpose of the visit, especially if the resident is uncertain or confused by it.

Residents will be asked about whom they are likely to have as visitors and any people whom they would find unacceptable or whom they would wish to be consulted over first before receiving them. This information will be recorded in the resident’s care plan.

However, the cardinal rule is to always consult the resident or their representatives whenever in doubt.

Unacceptable behaviour

The service has a duty of care to protect its residents and staff from intruders and anyone who threatens or may threaten their safety and security.

While visitors will be made welcome in the service, if a visitor acts in a way that prevents or restricts the service from operating its business without interruption, or issues which might impact on the safety or wellbeing of residents, or from fulfilling its duties to its residents, the service will first discuss the matter with the visitor.

If the behaviour continues or the concerns raised are not adequately addressed the service may make alternative arrangements for the visits by that visitor to see the resident, which might include visits being supervised, or taking place out the service.

Inappropriate behaviour, such as swearing, verbal abuse, physical abuse, threatening behaviour, or aggressive behaviour by any visitor will not be tolerated.

The service reserves the right to withdraw visiting rights from anyone who uses threatening, or abusive, or violent, or upsetting behaviour, or causes interruptions to the way in which the service operates daily.

The service reserves the right at any time to remove and ban, either temporarily or permanently, from visiting the service any person using threatening, or abusive, or violent, or upsetting behaviour towards any third party or interrupting the way in which the service operates on a daily basis. All acts of criminal violence and aggressive behaviour will be notified immediately to the Police.

Children

Any children visiting the service, who are under 16 years old, must always be supervised by a responsible adult. If a child under 16 is left unattended or is disturbing or upsetting other residents he or she may be asked to leave the service.

Staff visitors

The members of staff are not expected to receive visitors while they are working or to be
interrupted in the course of their duties by social calls. However, it is acceptable to have
people whom they know as family members or socially to call to leave messages or have
some brief contact in the case of an emergency.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Visiting Arrangements

With the current concerns about the spread and effects of the coronavirus the service has put into place all the safety measures recommended by the public health authorities for its residents and staff.

At present government guidance does not make any recommendations or place any restrictions on visiting arrangements for care home residents other than those that apply to everyone in general.

Visits will only go ahead when a service visiting risk assessment was completed and is in place.

Our residents are clearly vulnerable to being seriously ill if they are infected by the virus, so when visiting our service, we would ask you to:

  1. Check beforehand if possible if you might have had any contact with anyone who might have been in contact with an infected person or someone carrying the virus and take a decision about visiting based on your assessment of any risks
  2. Check with us before visiting if you have any concerns about visiting
  3. Be extra careful about being in physical contact with the person you are visiting and other people whom you might meet by:
    1. following staff guidance on how to access the service
    2. avoiding close contact with people who are unwell
    3. avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  4. Carry out good hand hygiene practice by always washing your hands carefully before and after any contacts made – using the soap and hand sanitizer gels provided
  5. Help staff to carry out the procedures that have been put in place to keep everyone safe from the virus and its spread
  6. Report and discuss with us any concerns you have about the health of the person you are visiting and any possible risks of their catching the virus.

We are confident that with these precautions in place to keep our residents safe our visiting arrangements should continue as normal.

However, we might need to change this policy in line with government policy and public health guidance and will keep you informed of any changes.

Issue Date: June 2020

Author: Linda Gloria