Relatives have described the first week of care home visits as a “week of broken promises”, says The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA).
Association director Helen Wildbore said: “From what we are hearing, the Government’s promise of reuniting families has not become a reality for too many older people. From blanket bans to restrictive rules, families have faced [barriers] during the past seven days.”
Below are some of the problems faced by families, according to the R&RA:
- Homes refusing to reopen until 12 April or when residents have their second dose of the vaccine
- Strict 30-minute visits in a dedicated visiting room, without consideration of individual needs
- Restrictive visitor hygiene rules, eg, having to wash their hair before visiting, changing into a clean set of clothes on site
- Essential care-giver status of relatives not recognised.
The Association also notes that some homes find themselves placed into a perpetual, rolling lockdown, due to what it terms “overly-rigid” definitions of an outbreak.
Wildbore says: “Meaningful contact for the first time in a year has meant the first steps towards rekindling lost relationships, reigniting fading memories and reconnecting, albeit through latex gloves. However, our helpline has heard from people… disturbed by [relatives’] significant weight loss, the visible pain and distress or loss of cognition. “
She adds: “Lack of individual assessments is a clear breach of the guidance, and of care providers’ duties under the Human Rights Act and Equality Act.”
- A new Partners in Care resource has been published to support care homes engage with visiting.