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Has the new guidance on visiting care homes actually lifted visiting restrictions at all?

granny shoe

Registered User
Jul 14, 2020
21
I got very excited about the news on Wednesday that relatives in care homes were about to be reunited with their loved ones. However when I read the actual guidance nothing seems to have changed from what was already happening in most homes. My husband's care home has certainly interpreted the guidance as confirming that no changes will occur, even though the number of new Covid cases is very low here. I'm still limited to a weekly garden visit at about 2.5 metres distance and wearing a mask unless the wind is not blowing in the direction of my husband! Has anybody had any good news on care home visiting since this Governement guidance was issued?
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
560
No changes at my mums care home, similar conditions to you, in a gazebo, wearing masks etc.
 

Baker17

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
718
No it has not helped in my situation as I’ve talked about in my other posts very disappointing
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,391
I think the updated guidance might be helpful for those who haven't been able to visit at all yet but as many here have posted, visits have been going on for a while now, albeit with procedures varying from care home to care home. That will continue to be the case, as the guidance leaves it ultimately to the care home managers to decide their own visiting procedures, although they will have to produce risk assessments to support their decisions.

I was bemused by how some sections of the media were treating the publication of the updated guidance as some sort of huge step forward and a major news story, proclaiming that 'finally, people can be reunited with their relatives in care homes'. It gives the false impression that everything is now 'fine' in relation to care home visiting, and the many people who don't have relatives in care homes still have no idea of the impact the visiting restrictions are having on some residents and their families, particularly those with dementia.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,704
I've written to my MP pointing out that this 'new advice' is what my mother's care home has been working towards and that for me and a lot of other families the sort of visits outlined really won't work. My MP is very good, but he isn't in Government so not sure how much he will be able to do, but I'm sure he will try and do something
Due to another case of Covid-19 I haven't actually been able to go and see if I will be proved wrong and that distanced visits will work fine for a resident (mum) with dementia and poor eyesight and a daughter (me) who is severely deaf.
 

northumbrian_k

Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
1,041
Newcastle
The impact on residents may be separate and different from the impact on family visitors. I would love to be able to hug my wife or just to hold her hand. But I am aware that she may not see things in the same way. It is easy to project one's own needs onto the person with dementia. Before Covid-19 my wife would sometimes respond to a hug but often would not. Sometimes she recognises me and more rarely knows me by name. Sometimes she calls me Dad or does not know me. A hug on those days would seem to be what she would not want. As a visitor I can only respond to the way she is in the moment. She may benefit from physical closeness but I don't think it would mean as much to her as it would to me. The bars of chocolate or biscuits that I take never fail to get her interest.

After not seeing her for a long time I was expecting to find that she was diminished due both to lockdown and the progressive nature of the disease. When we did meet recently I was struck by how little if anything had changed. Lockdown or not seems all the same to her. I find this reassuring and testament to the loving care that she receives in her home. I hope that these musings help although I know all circumstances and people are different.
 

intheloop

Registered User
Jun 9, 2019
11
Thanks to the government’s announcement I have had friends messaging me to say how wonderful it is that I will finally get to see my father in his care home now.
This is causing me even more heartache as I am having to explain that nothing has changed and although garden and window visits are allowed (which they were before this announcement) they are not possible because of my father’s advanced dementia.
There had been talk of allowing one person to have ‘key worker’ status. If one nominated person was allowed to visit even once a week (or fortnight!) but could actually go into their bedroom to see them and touch them (with gloves - like a care worker!) it would benefit the dementia sufferer enormously.
Surely for the residents that have not been able to see any visitors so far they need to do an individual assessment to find a way that visiting may be possible.
I know safety has to be the priority and I think the care homes have done an absolutely wonderful job during this very difficult time.
We now have to remember that most residents are elderly and part of the joy of life is seeing your loved ones.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,391
There had been talk of allowing one person to have ‘key worker’ status. If one nominated person was allowed to visit even once a week (or fortnight!) but could actually go into their bedroom to see them and touch them (with gloves - like a care worker!) it would benefit the dementia sufferer enormously.
Surely for the residents that have not been able to see any visitors so far they need to do an individual assessment to find a way that visiting may be possible.
My mum's home started to allow visits inside the home a month or so ago for those residents who were unable to go out in the garden (without the visitors needing designated 'key worker' status). They had to wear full PPE and be escorted at all times, and as far as I know they still had to maintain social distancing, with no touching. All visits are currently now cancelled due to a resident testing positive. Although the new guidance refers to individual risk assessments I think relatives who require these will probably need to be proactive in requesting one. There will be relatives who are happy with the current arrangements, and also some who rarely visit (if at all), so I wouldn't necessarily expect the care home manager to put individual risk assessments in place for every resident unless relatives specifically requested them. As visiting related decisions are up to individual care home managers it's probably best to speak to the manager of your father's care home to clarify the exact position there. Hopefully something might be able to put in place to allow you to see your father.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
582
The impact on residents may be separate and different from the impact on family visitors. I would love to be able to hug my wife or just to hold her hand. But I am aware that she may not see things in the same way. It is easy to project one's own needs onto the person with dementia. Before Covid-19 my wife would sometimes respond to a hug but often would not. Sometimes she recognises me and more rarely knows me by name. Sometimes she calls me Dad or does not know me. A hug on those days would seem to be what she would not want. As a visitor I can only respond to the way she is in the moment. She may benefit from physical closeness but I don't think it would mean as much to her as it would to me. The bars of chocolate or biscuits that I take never fail to get her interest.

After not seeing her for a long time I was expecting to find that she was diminished due both to lockdown and the progressive nature of the disease. When we did meet recently I was struck by how little if anything had changed. Lockdown or not seems all the same to her. I find this reassuring and testament to the loving care that she receives in her home. I hope that these musings help although I know all circumstances and people are different.
A very honest, poignant and thought provoking post. Thank you.
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,432
I got very excited about the news on Wednesday that relatives in care homes were about to be reunited with their loved ones. However when I read the actual guidance nothing seems to have changed from what was already happening in most homes. My husband's care home has certainly interpreted the guidance as confirming that no changes will occur, even though the number of new Covid cases is very low here. I'm still limited to a weekly garden visit at about 2.5 metres distance and wearing a mask unless the wind is not blowing in the direction of my husband! Has anybody had any good news on care home visiting since this Governement guidance was issued?
I haven't been allowed to visit my Mum at all yet!
 

northumbrian_k

Registered User
Mar 2, 2017
1,041
Newcastle
We now have to remember that most residents are elderly and part of the joy of life is seeing your loved ones.
In my wife's case the loved ones that it would give her joy to see are her grandmother, mam and dad. They are the people she misses and there is nothing that anyone can do about that.
 

granny shoe

Registered User
Jul 14, 2020
21
Thanks to everyone for their helpful replies to my query on whether care home visiting restrictions have actually been eased or not. I've written to my MP and also to the BBC. The media coverage saying that we're all reunited with loved ones now has not been helpful. I've also asked for a review of my husband's care and copied in his social worker and nurse from the Living Well with Dementia Team. My husband probably is much less distressed by being apart than I am but it's hard to tell as he is so withdrawn now.
 

Marie 67

Registered User
Jul 25, 2020
38
I got very excited about the news on Wednesday that relatives in care homes were about to be reunited with their loved ones. However when I read the actual guidance nothing seems to have changed from what was already happening in most homes. My husband's care home has certainly interpreted the guidance as confirming that no changes will occur, even though the number of new Covid cases is very low here. I'm still limited to a weekly garden visit at about 2.5 metres distance and wearing a mask unless the wind is not blowing in the direction of my husband! Has anybody had any good news on care home visiting since this Governement guidance was issued?
There’s change at my friends can take them out strange considering risks but it’s happening
 

Bezzy1946

Registered User
Jul 18, 2017
41
73
Watford
Just had a message from the home where my husband is and no one is allowed for w week and then only one visit and one key worker which would be me. We have four children who miss him but no visits very distressing. He is 80 and has dementia and very confused so he will get even worse with not seeing his family.
 

granny shoe

Registered User
Jul 14, 2020
21
Just had a message from the home where my husband is and no one is allowed for w week and then only one visit and one key worker which would be me. We have four children who miss him but no visits very distressing. He is 80 and has dementia and very confused so he will get even worse with not seeing his family.
So very sorry to hear about your situation. I hope that the Alzheimers charities can keep putting pressure on the government to do something about the very restrictive visiting guidance. I wrote to my MP about this last Thursday but haven't had a reply yet. All the MPs may now have gone on holiday!!
 

Marie 67

Registered User
Jul 25, 2020
38
So very sorry to hear about your situation. I hope that the Alzheimers charities can keep putting pressure on the government to do something about the very restrictive visiting guidance. I wrote to my MP about this last Thursday but haven't had a reply yet. All the MPs may now have gone on holiday!!
You can still contact you're local mp in there town or city office parliament is on recess if you go on Parliament uk web page youl find youres and home consituancey email I contacted mine threw there got a response
 

Baker17

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
718
In my case no. We had a spike at the beginning of last week and they said not even window visits! Anyway managed to get that one sorted out, but what if I’d not questioned it. I asked if could wear a face shield when outside visits take place that was another no, because I would be breathing the same air. Told them another home would have a lounge with patio doors were using this because of the changeable weather that was another no. This was because they didn’t have enough staff to deep clean after each visit. I’d asked the other home what they did about deep cleaning, seems very home was given a budget by Infection Control England was given a budget and they’d used some of theirs to purchase a fogging machine at a cost of £800 which means after an hour the room is clean not using staff to scrub the room. I informed them of this, I also informed my husband’s social worker. The outcome of this is that they are taking advice on how to facilitate and outside visit when the window visit restriction is lifted. I’m thinking I’m not their favourite person at the moment, you’d think I was asking for the world.
I also quoted the Human Rights Act, the right to life, oddly they didn’t comment on that, maybe I’m just a sceptic but after dealing with this type of people for four years I most probably have good reason to be.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,704
I've just received a letter from the CEO of the care group that my mum's home's in. The good news is that they are working towards having some visits inside the homes.
There are two bits of bad news. One is that homes that have had a case won't be open for any sort of visits for 28 days after the case was discovered. So that's at least another fortnight before my mother's home eases restrictions. The second is that they will no longer be able to test staff weekly and residents monthly due to a failure of a particular test from a particular supplier. This seems like a total scandal and I'll be writing to my MP again about that. The government and various agencies are working to resolve that, but apparently it'll be be at least five weeks before they can test again.
The whole thing is a disgrace.