Care homes are highly regulated and monitored to ensure that the given residents care is in line with the rights of the residents. If you, or a loved one, are moving into a care home, you may be concerned about a loss of control, the ability to make decisions about your own life, or the right to do what you wish. Actually, the rights of residents within care homes are protected by the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. In England, these rights of the residents are monitored by the CQC, Care Quality Commission, and in Scotland, CI, Care Inspectorate. Both organisations will regularly inspect homes, ensuring that the home residents receive the correct quality care in line with their rights, as laid out by the law.
What Does the Law Say?
The law is very clear on the requirements for residents. All residents must receive personalised care, which means that all residents must be individually assessed and detailed care plans drawn up. The care given must be tailored to that resident. Residents must be treated with dignity and respect, safeguarded from abuse, given safe care and enjoy a pleasant environment. Residents must also give consent and can make their own decisions. As a resident, you retain the right to refuse treatment, to refuse food, and to refuse care of any type. If a resident is deemed to be incapable of making these decisions, then home staff must follow the guidelines as laid out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Why Resident Rights Are Important?
Moving into a care home can be a difficult time, without worrying about whether you will have basic freedoms removed from you. The legislation has been put in place in order to preserve the rights of those even at this stage of their life. We have the right to refuse treatment, to refuse care, it cannot be forced upon us. People can worry that they will lose their freedom when moving into care, and it is very important to explain to people that they still have their rights and that residents in care homes have these rights protected under the law.
Consumer Rights for Care Home Residents
You are protected by consumer law when you enter into a contract with a care home. Whether you pay for your own care, or it is paid for by a Local Authority or the NHS, you are still protected in the same way. You will need to sign a contract when you move into a care home, this contract must be fair, and written in a clear and understandable way. If the contract is deemed unfair or misleading, then you cannot be held to the contract. You have the right to leave the care home with acceptable notice, and the care home has the right to ask you to leave for certain reasons. You always have the right to complain, and the process to do so must be simple and straightforward. The care home is expected to respond within the stated time frames for their complaints procedure and escalate the complaint correctly, should the need arise. You can expect to receive a competent level of care delivered by appropriately trained home staff with respect and dignity. If the care home claims to offer a certain type of care, for example, palliative care, then this is expected to be delivered to a competent level. If a care home doesn’t meet its obligations, it could be in breach of consumer law.
Human Rights in Care Settings
Residents in care homes enjoy the same human rights that we are all entitled to under The Human Rights Act 1998. The Human Rights Act consists of 14 articles and includes freedoms such as freedom of liberty, freedom of expression, and freedom from degrading treatment. When you are a resident in a care home, you are still protected under The Human Rights Act. If you consider the right to liberty, this means that you can leave the care home, as long as it is safe to do so. If it is deemed that you are not of sound mind, and cannot be responsible for your own safety, then an application needs to be submitted for Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, DOLS, the care home cannot simply just stop you from leaving. The DOLS must be approved, for the safety of the individual. There are stringent and effective regulations in place to protect your human rights.
Here at St Philips Care, we believe in the importance of maintaining existing relationships, as well as developing new engagement. Moving into a home, whether for residential care or nursing care, can be a worrying and stressful time, but maintaining familiar routines and relationships will help with the transition. We always support and assist social time with visitors, making it easy and enjoyable for all concerned. As a resident in a care home, you have the right to receive and welcome visitors into your home. Some care homes do have protected meal times, where only the residents will be present to eat. This is to protect those residents who struggle with eating and may be distracted or perturbed by visitors, which could have a detrimental effect on their health. If this is the case in your care home, it will be clearly explained to you and does not impinge on your visiting rights. Our care homes have communal areas, where you can sit with your visitors, or you can choose to sit in your room if you prefer some privacy. We will always endeavour to look after your visitors, offering hot drinks and biscuits whenever possible.
Responsibilities of Care Homes
Care homes are responsible for the safety and welfare of all the residents in their care. Care homes are very strictly monitored and regulated, by the relevant bodies, according to country, so you can be confident that they are looking after the residents in their care. You can check the quality of care homes by going to the relevant body website and checking the reports. It is a regulated industry, the care staff must be trained to the appropriate level to provide the care stipulated. Care staff will be trained to a specific level, and nursing staff to a certain level. The staffing ratios must be adhered to, so that there are always enough staff on duty to provide the quality care required. There are strict criteria that care homes must adhere to, such as daily checks and reporting, and regularly updated care plans.
Choose Quality Care from St Philips Care
It can be easy to feel that you will have less control over your own life, decisions and care when you move into a care home. However, care homes are bound by law to uphold the rights of the residents in their care. Whether you want to spend all day in bed, refuse to go to hospital, or would rather eat alone, care homes are duty-bound to uphold your wishes. Care homes cannot force home residents to do anything. The strict regulations mean that residents and their rights are protected by law. Where residents are not considered to be able to make decisions about their own care, then certain protocols must be followed to make decisions for them. Again this is highly regulated, and the wishes of the individual are at the heart of the legislation. Here at St Philips Care, we always hold the happiness and emotional well-being of our residents at the heart of all that we do.