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Changes to care home visiting guidance 'coming soon'

Frank68

Registered User
Jan 28, 2013
91
South Coast
I agree, I had my first outside visit this week and my experience was horrendous :(
Me too - though I was allowed in when my wife nearly died from the loneliness and shock of a fall some weeks ago... Our visits are 6' apart at opposite end of a table with a perspex screen between us. It was so awful for both of us... I've asked for another but not sure its worth it. She /we need a hug more than anything - she hasn't been able to speak for years!!
 

Frank68

Registered User
Jan 28, 2013
91
South Coast
Oh Angel, it's so hard to see that deterioration and to feel so helpless.

I think the point of being regarded as key workers though, means that you can be indoors, help with care, and touch your husband.

Seeing my Dad the other day I was struck by the fact that I was forced to sit 2 metres away. Yet when he was cold, one of the staff brought him his fleecy, helped him with putting it on - and then, when I left, she took Dad by the arm and off they went, side by side.

Yet, in all honesty, she was as much a risk to Dad as I was. She goes home at the end of her shift, probably does some shopping, may have family. Whereas I live alone and have minimal contact with anyone.

The only difference is, she is tested regularly.
Don't take the staff's regular tests for granted!! They are certainly not available yet in my wife's Carehome!! - Despite our Carehomes managers persistence and what Hancock says!!
Frank
 

Baker17

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
720
Don't take the staff's regular tests for granted!! They are certainly not available yet in my wife's Carehome!! - Despite our Carehomes managers persistence and what Hancock says!!
Frank
I wouldn’t take regular testing for granted either. When testing was offered to my husband’s care home staff were offered testing early on in the pandemic one of the supervisors said to me there’s no way I’m doing a test it would make me gag. To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement. Unless testing is made mandatory for all staff they will be able to opt out.
 

Blended

New member
Feb 28, 2018
2
I haven't been on this forum for some time now as my mother (PWD) has been in a care home for the past 18 months so a lot of my concerns are no longer relevant.
Mum is in the late stages of mixed dementia having been diagnosed 6 1/2 years ago and time is not on her side. I was wondering if anyone is aware of the current guidelines from Public Health England re visiting relatives in care. I am struggling to find anything online. As like many of you, I have not been able to visit mum for 4 months. This is causing huge upset and distress to us as a family. I have had 2 Facetime calls with mum but due to her condition and presentation it was very difficult. I've now had communication from her care home advising they are opening up to external visits. All visitors must be temperature tested, wear a mask and gloves and stay 2 meters from their relative. There is to be no physical contact and a member of staff will remain present for the 45 minute visit. I have no objection to being temperature tested and wearing necessary PPE.
My concerns are that mum will become distressed having to go outside and due to the nature of her condition communication is extremely challenging and needs to involve physical touch. I respect the need to protect residents from infection but surely there needs to be a balance. I have pointed out to the care manager that mum's condition is going to make this type of visiting too distressing and said I need to communicate more via touch and being closer. They have point blank refused and referred to current PHE guidelines?? What is the point of protecting her from COVID when her life is slowly being eradicated by this cruel illness. I want to know where the compassion is. It is almost like she is being held hostage and is paying a shed load of money weekly for the privilege. The care home seem to have so much power and enjoy exercising it. It seems a totally hopeless situation and who knows how long this will go on for. Everyday that passes is another day lost.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,394
@Blended a lot of us here will understand your situation. A visit to mum seems similar to a prison visit at the moment and it doesn't help that there seems to be no end in sight. I'm not aware of any PHE guidance in relation to care home visits, only their PPE guidelines for care homes so perhaps the staff have misunderstood, but if not ask them to provide you with a copy of thess guidelines. As you will see from other posts in this thread, if you are in England updated guidance around care home visits is apparently 'due soon' but it isn't clear when. At the moment it seems from posts on here that care homes tend to be setting their own guidance about visits. I've been able to visit mum in the garden for about 5 weeks now but I know that some care homes are still not planning to open for visits anytime soon. Mum's care home manager said that they are trying their best to balance safety with the resident's mental wellbeing, but visitors still need to wear appropriate PPE and maintain social distancing with no touching. As a resident at the home has just tested positive for covid all of the visits have now been cancelled again for the time being. I'm hoping that the announcement about changes to care home visits may be linked to the 'pausing' of shielding which is due on 1st August but we are all being left in 'limbo' at the moment.

I don’t know if you’ve read this thread but various charities have been pushing for relatives to be treated as ‘key workers’ in care homes so there are people out there who are campaigning to make things better: https://forum.alzheimers.org.uk/thr...-confused-about-visiting-restrictions.123147/
 

Chaplin

Registered User
May 24, 2015
71
Bristol
On BBC Breakfast this morning Grant Shapps when asked about care home visits said there would be an announcement this week.
I do hope this is not another delaying tactic. Over two weeks ago Matt Hancock said on ITV News that details would be ‘released in days’. Obviously none of these people have any direct experience of caring for someone with dementia. Touch is an essential comfort when words are no longer possible! Let’s hope we hear positive news soon!
 

Angel62

Registered User
Apr 8, 2013
25
Wolverhampton
I haven't been on this forum for some time now as my mother (PWD) has been in a care home for the past 18 months so a lot of my concerns are no longer relevant.
Mum is in the late stages of mixed dementia having been diagnosed 6 1/2 years ago and time is not on her side. I was wondering if anyone is aware of the current guidelines from Public Health England re visiting relatives in care. I am struggling to find anything online. As like many of you, I have not been able to visit mum for 4 months. This is causing huge upset and distress to us as a family. I have had 2 Facetime calls with mum but due to her condition and presentation it was very difficult. I've now had communication from her care home advising they are opening up to external visits. All visitors must be temperature tested, wear a mask and gloves and stay 2 meters from their relative. There is to be no physical contact and a member of staff will remain present for the 45 minute visit. I have no objection to being temperature tested and wearing necessary PPE.
My concerns are that mum will become distressed having to go outside and due to the nature of her condition communication is extremely challenging and needs to involve physical touch. I respect the need to protect residents from infection but surely there needs to be a balance. I have pointed out to the care manager that mum's condition is going to make this type of visiting too distressing and said I need to communicate more via touch and being closer. They have point blank refused and referred to current PHE guidelines?? What is the point of protecting her from COVID when her life is slowly being eradicated by this cruel illness. I want to know where the compassion is. It is almost like she is being held hostage and is paying a shed load of money weekly for the privilege. The care home seem to have so much power and enjoy exercising it. It seems a totally hopeless situation and who knows how long this will go on for. Everyday that passes is another day lost.
You echo my feelings exactly. My visit just rocked me to the core. I found exactly what you are concerned about. The visit was just an ordeal for my husband and worthless without the comfort of a touch. While the powers that be deliberate with agonising slowness I feel it's too late for me. My heart goes out to you. You are not alone in this.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
705
Whilst it is good to see this, @nitram thanks for posting, I am a bit underwhelmed.
It does not seem to move us much further on, but may be helpful for those in homes where no visiting arrangements have been established.
It mentions other options - phone, facetime etc but surely for many care home residents these are simply not suitable. Whilst I commend what the guidance suggests about CH staff trying to prepare residents for visits, homes are struggling with care post-COVID as well as the demands of supervised visiting, I cant help thinking that however much we want it, homes are simply not resourced for further support.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,394
I am a bit underwhelmed.
It does not seem to move us much further on, but may be helpful for those in homes where no visiting arrangements have been established.
I'm a bit underwhelmed too as there doesn't seem to be anything different in the guidance to what mum's home are already doing. I agree that the guidance may be more helpful to those who have not yet been allowed to visit, however the guidance still makes it clear that the decision to allow visits is an operational one, and up to individual care home managers:

Prior to visits being allowed in care homes, the director of public health in every area should disseminate their view on the suitability of visiting in the local authority area, taking into account infection rates and the wider risk environment. The decision on whether or not to allow visitors, and in what circumstances, is an operational decision and therefore ultimately for the provider and managers of each individual setting to make.
 

Helly68

Registered User
Mar 12, 2018
705
Having worked in public health, and knowing how those teams have been reduced to a skeleton by underfunding, I somehow doubt that Directors of Public Health would have the resource or in some cases the knowledge of care homes to do this.
Also, the bit buried in the guidance to relatives about "not wearing a hat" in case your loved one doesn't recognise you - well blow me! As if a mask wasn't confusing enough I doubt anyone would deliberately wear a hat.......
I do wonder who writes this guidance.....and maybe just me but I didn't see anything specifically about end of life visits, which I think has been a particularly difficult area. Still a lot up to individual managers......
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,704
I've just skimmed through it and it doesn't seem to be much different to what is already happening and not really very much use to me personally or I guess to many of us. Mum's home was just opening up for garden visits when they got another case of covid19. When things are clear again they are intending to have visits at timed slots and use the garden. I really don't think visiting mum at a distance is going to work for me as I just won't hear her and she won't recognise me. This advice doesn't make me feel like the impact not being able to actually sit next to and cuddle our loved ones has really been considered
 
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Henkerann

Registered User
Aug 28, 2019
21
suffolk
Surely we have to move forward,My mum is in Assisted Living, individual flats in a building. She has dementia. Lockdown happened on the 17th March, from visiting every day to nothing was awful for her and for me. About a week later, one person in the building had a cough so the communal lounge was then shut. I was able to visit my poor Mum in June, alloted 45 minutes in the garden, by which time it was so long since she'd been out she just felt cold and I don't think recognised me anymore.
On the 3rd July I got a call to say she was going to hospital. I wasn't allowed to visit for 48 hrs. Then by appointment I was able to visit her there. I know she was ill (very anaemic needing 5 pints of blood) but she just looked uncared for, her hair was long, fingernails long. ( no hairdressing, no chiropodist and carers are not allowed to cut nails. usually something which I do for her.)
She went home from hospital a week later and I booked to see her on Monday only to be told when I rang to see what shopping she needed actually I couldn't visit, even in the garden, as she was now she is in isolation for two weeks because she's been in hospital. This only frustrated me more as Agency Staff are being employed again, the whole idea of them not being employed whilst locked down was to stop cross contamination
How much more are these poor elderly people going to have to go through. If they can't be supported by loved ones when they need them most , what is the point. The future on the other side of this is bleak for them. I understand that the care staff need to be kept safe too, but some decisions really need to be made now.
It's now just depressing.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,287
My mother's care home just sent me a copy of the guidance, and said they have to undertake a risk assessment before they can allow what would essentially be garden visits - as others have said, this has not moved things on at all, and there seems to be no understanding of what people with dementia and their visitors actually need.

The CH also said they have repeatedly requested (as in the document) weekly tests for staff and monthly for residents, but this has not happened. They have had two sets of tests in the entire time (all tests were negative). So the govt are not even facilitating the visits they have produced guidelines for.

I have every sympathy with those who have said how horrendous the visits have been. I won't visit until a more normal regime is in place. My mother's language ability is extremely limited, she is very unlikely to recognise me, and a visit in an unfamiliar location, with a stranger wearing PPE, would just distress her.
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
166
I fully agree with your post Amelia5a it is the same here. Of course we have had more welcome news since your post about being allowed in care homes but it does concern me that it does seem to still indicate about social distancing as far as I understand it and my mother needs a hug or for me to just touch her hand.

Your point about care home staff being allowed to touch the residents which is essential in many cases but in my opinion being shown some love and tenderness by a loved one is just as essential to their well being as is washing them and changing them by care home staff.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
582
I agree @Sirena . The unfamiliarity of these visits, coupled with not having seen us for so long is bound to distress a lot of our loved ones. First visits after all this time are probably going to be tricky for many of us anyway. I understand care homes being so cautious but a lot of people are going to be very disappointed with the "new" guidance, which is quite an anti-climax. A carer recently told me that they had had to intervene on occasion to prevent visitors from hugging residents when they were overcome with emotion, which sounds just awful. My poor mum sometimes thinks she's in some kind of prison camp in any case. That is definitely not going to help! I feel bad about not visiting but would no doubt feel worse after visiting under current circumstances.
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
166
Sirena, I also agree with you, I did have one garden visit and it did indeed cause of a stress to my mother and she wanted to end the visit early as she was so confused and distressed by her experience of having to come down the ramp into the garden which frightened her as she thought that she would fall and usually when ever she walks anywhere with her rollator I am by her side and going down a ramp I would usually hold the from the rollator for safety reasons but she could hear the nurse telling me that I needed to be further away she could see what the peculiar things I was wearing which with a mask gloves and keeping away from her and she just looked uneasy and confused and worried as she didn't know what was going on.

Now the government are on a break will anyone be listening to us I ask myself
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
166
Sirena, I also agree with you, I did have one garden visit and it did indeed cause of a stress to my mother and she wanted to end the visit early as she was so confused and distressed by her experience of having to come down the ramp into the garden which frightened her as she thought that she would fall and usually when ever she walks anywhere with her rollator I am by her side and going down a ramp I would usually hold the from the rollator for safety reasons but she could hear the nurse telling me that I needed to be further away she could see what the peculiar things I was wearing which with a mask gloves and keeping away from her and she just looked uneasy and confused and worried as she didn't know what was going on.

Now the government are on a break will anyone be listening to us I ask myself
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
166
I am getting increasingly alarmed and concerned about this matter. I thought that yesterday we were getting some good news but now I discover that it was just same news. I feel action needs to be taken now as our loved ones have not got all the time in the world. This is an excerpt from the template MP's letter,


Under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and associated government guidance, all action taken must comply with the Human Rights Act 1998 and a blanket lockdown in care homes without specific support for enabling family carers to visit could be viewed as a violation of Article 8 ECHR (the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence). There is also concern that preventing contact between residents with dementia and their family risks causing distress and, potentially, a risk to life which threatens their rights under Article 2 ECHR the right to a family life.

All public bodies, including government, local authorities and care home providers, have a legal duty to comply with human rights obligations which, in failing to facilitate forms of contact with family carers, they are failing to do.

My MP, in spite of numerous attempts by me to contact him by phone, no reply just an answerphone have left several messages have sent several emails including the template letter, no response. (probably because he is a prominent politician and very busy )

Some sort of action needs to be taken now, how would one go about it should I contact an IMCA via the DOLs ? to set up a court case against the government? can that even be done?

What if a few of us made a stand by taking court action?

Any thoughts?