New Health and Social Care Standards for care homes

Reinforcing the rights of residents to have visits and care from loved ones.

Changes to the national Health and Social Care Standards for Scotland’s adult care homes will put Anne’s Law into practical effect while legislation is being prepared.

 Two new Standards set out the expectation that people living in care homes should have the right to see someone who is dear to them, even during a Covid-19 outbreak, and 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, and the Care Inspectorate will consider whether they are being met when registering, inspecting and supporting homes.

Anne’s Law aims to ensure people who live in adult care homes have rights to see and get support from those who are important to them. The stepped approach to its introduction - new Standards followed by legislation - follows a public consultation which found overwhelming backing for Anne’s law and for a change to the Standards. The new Standards are supported by the body representing care homes, Scottish Care.

Social Care Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“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.

“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.”

Donald Macaskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care, said:

“I am pleased to commend the new Social Care Standards which have been published today. 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.”

Edith Macintosh, interim Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate said:

“The Care Inspectorate welcomes the new Standards. We know  that having regular contact with people is essential for wellbeing and good mental health.  

“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."

 A spokesperson for Care Home Relatives Scotland (CHRS) said:

“CHRS is pleased the new Social Care Standards have been published and the importance of maintaining contact with care home residents at all times has been formally recognised.

“Relatives and close friends of those in residential care are not simply visitors, but continue with a caring role and as the voice and representative for our loved ones. It is reassuring to know we will always have the right to uphold that essential contact.

“We look forward to working together with all care home staff to ensure the Standards are respected and upheld.”


The Health and Social Care Standards set out what people should expect when experiencing health, social care or social work services in Scotland. As with the existing Standards, the Care Inspectorate will be under a duty to consider how care service providers are upholding them in relation to registering, inspecting and supporting care services.

The Scottish Government will provide further support and resource to enhance the Care Inspectorate’s role in supporting visiting rights. This additional resource will enable the Care Inspectorate to proactively champion the implementation of the new Standards and rigorously monitor its progress.

The two new Standards are:

  • If I am an adult living in a care home and restrictions to routine visiting are needed to prevent infection, I can nominate relatives/friends (and substitutes) to visit me.  My nominated relatives/friends will be supported by the care home to see me in person day-to-day and to be directly involved in providing my care and support if that is what I want 
  • If I am an adult living in a care home, I can nominate relatives/friends (and substitutes), who will be supported by the care home to be directly involved in providing my day-to-day care and support if that is what I want

The Standards follow on from updates to the Scottish Government’s Named Visitor policy during COVID-19 outbreaks in care homes and will be followed by Anne’s Law, which will be incorporated into primary legislation in the National Care Service Bill, due to be introduced by the end of this Parliamentary year.


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