August 2020: This chapter has been amended to include a link to Visiting Care Homes during Coronavirus published by the Department of Health and Social Care.
It is essential for people’s psychological wellbeing that they remain in contact with family and friends, when they are living in residential accommodation particularly when they are in a long term or permanent placement, but even when in for a short term or respite stay.
Staff in the service must ensure that adults are encouraged and supported in their contact with family and friends and that they are given the opportunity to meet with family or friends in private.
Staff must be polite and courteous to all visitors. They should be flexible in their approach to visitors, and be adaptable as possible when required.
Staff must ascertain through discussion with the adult who they want contact with, and if there is anyone they do not want contact with. The names of any family member or friends with whom they do want to have contact should be recorded in their care and support plan.
Visitors should be made welcome in the service at any reasonable time. Any restrictions on visiting times should be agreed by the adults living in the home and reviewed by them at meetings.
3. Children visiting the Service
Any child under the age of 16 should be accompanied by an adult when visiting the service, unless it has been agreed otherwise by the service manager, following a risk assessment. The risk assessment should contain details of how the child will be safeguarded during their visit.
4. Visitors Procedure
Any person visiting the service should sign in and out of the Visitor’s Book and be able to prove who they are by providing staff with ID if necessary. This includes family and friends of adults in the service, and those on professional visits to see the adult, from a partner agency for example.
When a visitor arrives at the home the person in charge should ensure that the following are explained:
- the fire procedure;
- any environmental safety hazards;
- any potential risks presented by others within the service, without compromising any individual’s confidential person information.
The service should ensure that adults can see their guests in private, if they would like to, either in a quiet room or in their bedroom.
Drink facilities should be available to ensure visitors feels welcome and comfortable, particularly if they have travelled some distance for the visit.
4.1 Concerns of visitors
Visitors should be encouraged to raise any concerns they may have with a member of staff during their visit and staff should try to resolve any issues at the time. If necessary, the complaints procedure should be followed (see Complaints).
People should feel comfortable sharing concerns or complaints that they have and know that they will be listened to and action taken when appropriate.
4.2 Visitor behaviour
Visitors to the service must abide by any instructions given to them by staff. They must also respect the fact that the service is the home for other people, as well as their family member or friend.
Staff should be aware of a visitor’s whereabouts in the home at all times, to ensure everyone’s safety. If they find a visitor in an area of the service where they should not be, they should be questioned politely to see if they are lost.
Visitors who display any form of aggression or harassment will be asked to leave the premises.
Staff must ensure that all adults in the service are safeguarded from any exploitative or abusive contact.
Any concerns about the behaviour or attitude of any visitor should be reported to the person in charge, and action taken by the service manager where necessary. This could include meeting with the visitor/s to discuss staff concerns and agreeing ground rules for future visits.
Where there is no positive outcome to the concerns of staff, it may be necessary to ban specific visitors from the service. This should be a last resort, when all other actin has failed or the visitor/s pose risk to the adult, other adults in the service or staff. It should be done in discussion with the adult / their representative where at all possible. The visitor/s should receive written confirmation of the action from the service manager, stating if there is any review period for this action and options they have to challenge the decision of the service.
Any ongoing case of contact being prevented between and adult and a visitor by the provider, such cases should be referred to the local authority safeguarding adults team. An order may need to be obtained by the local authority from the Court of Protection to continue to restrict contact for those adults who lack mental capacity to decide on contact with the visitor. The same applies if the provider insists on any supervised contact between the visitor and resident. The safeguarding adults team should be informed, as authorisation by way of a court order from the Court of Protection may be required to prevent a breach of the adult’s right to a private and family life (Article 8 Human Rights Act 1998)
Where there are any criminal or safeguarding concerns related to visitors, these should be reported to the police and the local safeguarding adults team as appropriate.