Visiting supported living settings during Covid
Whilst many of the same considerations outlined in Hazel's previous blog need to be taken into account when putting a visitor policy and risk assessment together, providers will also need to consider the following when discussing and formalising arrangements with relatives:
In a supported living setting, the premises are often rented by the service user and do not form part of the regulated care. The legal duties of the provider to protect the service user, other household members and staff need to be balanced against the right of the service user to invite people into their home. Each decision will be fact-specific and will take into account whether the setting is shared, the profile of each household member and the layout of the home.
Where service users do not have capacity to decide who should visit and the appropriate type of visit in light of the risk of Covid, a best interests decision may need to be made and documented in accordance with the MCA Code of Practice.
Leaving the home
It may be common for families to take service users out of their home for visits. Providers will need to be clear what their policy is and what practical arrangements could be put in place, if any, to permit this. Thought will need to be given as to whether the profile and needs of each service user would enable a Covid test or self-isolation before re-entry.
Terms of contract
The terms of the provider's funding contract for the service user. Providers are legally required under Regulation 12 of the Fundamental Standards to assess the risk of and prevent, detect and control the spread of infections (Regulation 12).Compliance with the Fundamental Standards is likely to be a contractual duty which will apply to both the service user and the other members of their household.
As with care homes, a close eye should be kept on amends to the the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and updates to Government guidance. Providers will need to adapt their policies and risk assessments accordingly.