People living in care homes will have the right to see their loved ones, even during a pandemic, under new standards being introduced.
The move will see ‘Anne’s Law’ put into practical effect whilst legislation is being prepared.
The proposed law is named after Anne Duke, whose daughter Natasha Hamilton called for the change so that she could visit her mother, who has dementia, during the pandemic.
Ms Hamilton had urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to introduce the law in order that a nominated relative or friend is given the same access rights to care homes as staff.
A public consultation found overwhelming backing for Anne’s law to be introduced.
The Scottish Government has now announced that the changes to health and social care standards will allow the proposals to come into effect.
It means that care home residents will be able to name a person or persons who can directly participate in meeting their care needs.
The standards should be reflected by care homes in their policies, the Government has said, whilst the Care Inspectorate will consider whether they are being met when registering, inspecting and supporting homes.
Scotland’s social care minister Kevin Stewart outlined the expectation of the Government that those living in homes have their care delivered in a “dignified manner”.
“We are fulfilling our pledge to introduce the provisions of Anne’s Law as quickly as possible by using our existing legal powers to help ensure care home visitors can be involved in the care and support of their loved ones,” he said.
“We will go further by including Anne’s Law within the new National Care Service Bill, with that legislation due to be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in the coming months.
“We are clear in our expectation that care home residents must have their care delivered in a dignified manner that reflects their rights.”
Edith Macintosh, interim chief executive of the Care Inspectorate, acknowledged the benefits in enabling care home residents to have regular contact with those close to them.
“The Care Inspectorate welcomes the new standards. We know that having regular contact with people is essential for wellbeing and good mental health,” she said.
“Meaningful contact must be included in personal care plans, with clear strategies in place for staff to support it.
“This includes people experiencing care from those close to them when that is their choice.
“These new standards will be reflected in how we register, inspect and support adult care homes in Scotland, to ensure care services embed them in their practice.”
Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, said the new standards “clearly underline” the rights of residents to be supported by family and friends.
“I am pleased to commend the new Social Care Standards which have been published today,” he said.
They make explicit what we all recognise, namely the critical role that family and friends play in the care support of a resident in a care home.
“They clearly underline the rights of residents, should they wish, even during a managed infectious disease outbreak, to have family and friends support them in visiting and support.
“In the months ahead staff, providers, families, and residents will work together to ensure that these rights are understood and that the new Standards are a success.”