Protecting care home residents’ rights

Strengthened standards ensure fewer restrictions on visiting.

Strengthened national guidance on visiting has improved residents’ quality of life Health Secretary Michael Matheson was told by staff and residents at a care home in Greenock. 

The Health and Social Care Standards which came into force last April gave people living in care homes rights to see loved ones and name relatives or friends they wish to be involved in their care plans.

The standards have helped deliver the aims of Anne’s Law, ensuring people who live in adult care homes have rights to see and get support from those who are important to them, ahead of the Scottish Parliament considering entering it into legislation as part of the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill.

The Bagatelle Care Home is one of two operated by the Greenock Medical Aid Society. Their “meaningful visits” team, set up during the pandemic to ensure residents had regular, safe contact with loved ones, won the Nursing Older People Award at the Royal College of Nursing Awards 2021.

Mr Matheson said:

“Strengthening the standards has allowed us to meet our pledge to introduce the provisions of Anne’s Law as quickly as possible by using existing legal powers. This has minimised disruption to visiting and I am glad to hear how this is already helping residents and their loved ones.

“I would also like to congratulate the staff here at the Bagatelle Care Home on the Nursing Older People award and thank them for their continued hard work.”

Andrea Wyllie, Chief Executive of Greenock Medical Aid Society, said:

“Since we introduced meaningful visits safely during the height of the pandemic we’ve seen improvements in residents’ and family members’ overall wellbeing.

“Our data showed an increase in appetites and a significant decrease in those at risk of malnutrition. We saw moods lift and a feeling of life and buzz return into our care homes. We  demonstrated that we could balance the rights of residents and family members in being back together, with the risks that increasing footfall could bring.”

Kevin Mitchell, the Care Inspectorate's executive director of scrutiny and assurance, said:

"We recognise that recent years have been an unprecedented challenge for all those living and working in care settings. We have seen countless examples of care services working extremely hard to support people to maintain contact with their loved ones in meaningful ways.

"The Care Inspectorate continues to work closely with partners across the sector and with the Scottish Government to ensure people experiencing care are supported to have meaningful contact with the people important to them."

Cathie Russell of Care Home Relatives Scotland said:

“We are pleased the Health Secretary is marking the one year anniversary of the new care standards which are helping to ensure people can still have contact with loved ones even during Covid and other outbreaks and look forward to this approach being enshrined in Anne’s Law as a matter of urgency.”


The standards, which were introduced on 1 April 2022, set out what people should expect when experiencing health, social care or social work services in Scotland, giving the Care Inspectorate a duty to consider how providers are upholding them in relation to registering, inspecting and supporting care services.

More information on Health and Social Care Standards can be found here.

Data on visiting is published here.



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