Open with Care: supporting meaningful contact in adult care homes – principles

Guidance setting out the key principles and expectations for care home providers, care home staff and visitors in relation to visiting adult care homes, including during COVID-19 and other infectious outbreaks. It also provides tools and resources to support visiting in adult care homes.

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Key principles and expectations


The overarching vision of Open with Care is that everyone who lives in an adult care home is supported to see and spend time with the people that are important to them and to participate in activities within the care home and in their communities.

This is because meaningful contact with relatives and friends is fundamental to residents’ health and wellbeing and forms part of their human rights.

The Scottish Government is clear that we expect care homes to support visiting and outings for all of their residents. We have taken the following steps to promote and support visiting and outings in adult care homes:

  • Scotland’s Strategic framework update for tackling COVID-19 published on 22 February 2022, sets an approach to managing COVID-19 effectively but also sustainably for as long as necessary. The framework outlines a vision for care homes:
    • "People living in care homes, which are essentially their homes, should be supported to enjoy fulfilled, meaningful lives free from restrictions as far as possible. Even during outbreaks, unless there are exceptional circumstances, the care home should support residents seeing friends and family and participating in activities in and away from the home. Where protection measures do need to be in place these should be proportionate and only be in place for the shortest possible period.”
  • on 31 March 2022 we introduced two new statutory Health and Social Care Standards. The new standards set out the clear expectation that people living in care homes should have the right to see someone who is important to them, even during an outbreak, and be able to name a person or persons who can directly participate in meeting their care needs
  • see the guidance on the new health and social care standards from the Care Inspectorate
  • we introduced ‘Anne’s Law’ to the Scottish Parliament as part of a commitment to bring in legislation to ensure that all those living in adult care homes are able to nominate those important to them to see them



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