Consultation on plans to introduce Anne’s Law, which would ensure care home residents have a legal right to be visited by loved ones, has found overwhelming support.
An independent analysis of the consultation found those who responded were “almost unanimously” in agreement with the SNP Government’s proposal.
Care home residents and those with a friend or relative in a care home shared moving stories of the emotional cost and loss they had experienced due to restrictions on visiting introduced to reduce the risk of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The consultation also found widespread support for plans to strengthen the Health and Social Care Standards to help care home residents to maintain connections with family and friends while Anne’s Law is put in place.
The SNP Government is already working closely with care home providers to promote the aims of Anne’s Law by upholding current guidance, which states that visiting should be supported even during outbreaks, unless in exceptional circumstances.
Minister for Social Care Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“I am extremely grateful to everyone who took the time to submit a response to the consultation. The views of those who responded are now helping to shape the new Standards and the legislation, work on which is well underway.
“We are about to update and strengthen the Health and Social Care Standards, with a strong emphasis on helping residents and their families remain connected.
“While Anne’s Law will be introduced to Parliament as soon as is practically possible, we are taking immediate action to ensure that care home residents and their families can benefit from its aims and principles right now.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Care home residents and their loved ones have had to make real sacrifices when the deadly COVID-19 pandemic was at its worst.
“My own mother lives with advanced dementia in Saltcoats, and we weren’t able to see her for prolonged periods which was sad for us but particularly distressing for her.
“While it was vital to take those protective steps, I also understand why many residents and those close to them feel there should be a right to visits from designated loved ones in the future.”
More than 400 responses were received to the two part consultation on Anne’s Law and strengthening the Health and Social Care standards.
Responses came from individuals and from organisations including care home providers, health and social care partnerships, local authorities, care home provider representative groups, professional representative organisations, academics, third sector organisations, and family representative groups.
The Health and Social Care Standards set out what people should expect when experiencing health, social care, or social work services in Scotland.