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

Kellyr

Registered User
Aug 8, 2020
44
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.
I really feel your pain! I can currently see my Mum in the garden but the new guidelines have actually made things worse/more complicated. Youre right, each resident should get an individual risk assesment but because this is all guidance, not rules, I think the carehomes can ultimately decide if they want to do this or not and its probably easier for them to apply a one size fits all approach which is not right. Maybe if enough pple contact their local MP, there might be some changes...good luck :)
 

Kellyr

Registered User
Aug 8, 2020
44
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.
I think these rules and regulations are getting out of hand now and I feel the manager of my Mums home says no to everything and is doing everything to make things more difficult as some of has very little logic. I also definitely think she hates me!
 

Louie16

Registered User
Mar 31, 2020
34
TAKING MUM OUT OF CARE HOME - is exactly what I’m contemplating right now.
I don’t see the situation at Care Homes changing for months and months, in fact it will only get worse when winter arrives, they’re not going to let relatives in Homes for a very long time. In the meantime our loved ones are suffering from lack of family contact, love and support.
I think this attitude by the Homes is due to all the deaths that occurred at the beginning of Covid and now the extreme opposite is happening, so many measures that no residents will get Covid, they’ll just die of broken hearts!! I’m looking into 24/7 care at home for Mum so that she will be able to have these crucial months, being able to get outside and be with her family. i know its a massive decision and not one to take lightly, but quality of life is important and time is not on our side here and I know if I could ask her this question, she would say ‘get me out, I’ll risk the Covid, just to be with my family’
Hi, Wishing20.
How are you getting along with your decision to take mum out of home ? Has social worker been involved ? I've heard at care home they're starting visits nxt week but only after decision made by local public health every Friday based on stats. Not been back yet. I'd be really interested to hear how you're doing as I'm feeling exactly same. Thanks.
 

Louie16

Registered User
Mar 31, 2020
34
Dear Louie 16, I have exactly the same concerns as yourself about the possibility of a second wave of infection in the autumn. Then all the care homes could be locked down again. I am lucky in that my husband has a social worker. I asked her to formally review my husband to see if he could be looked after at home. The review is still underway and is involving social services, the community psychiatric nurse and district nurses and the care home. Things are not looking too good as my husband needs repositioning and personal care by two carers every 4 hours through the day and night. He can also get agitated at night and then he needs a lot of reassurance. Four of the key points if considering a transfer back home are : can the loved ones needs be safely met; will the Covid infection risk to them and you be higher because of carers coming in, have you got enough support and what would happen if you became ill? There is an awful lot to think through but I've found the process of going through things with the social worker very helpful. I hope that you're able to have some happier visits to your Mum soon. We need to keep writing to the MPs, media and anyone who might be able to help!!!
Hi granny shoe,
Thankyou for your information on your current discussions. Yes these are issues I am worrying about everyday. What would happen if I was I'll, what if carers brought it in ? Mums also a night wanderer. But also how do I live with not looking after my own mum with family, she's worked hard all her life ,looked after us and never wanted to be there. The staff just have no time at all, it's all about cleaning now and preventing them mixing with anyone in the home. I've tried talk about it with manager recently but she's not really understanding and there's been issues I've not been happy about with her before lockdown. In end I asked her to send me complaints form but as yet not filled it in . Residents are so vulnerable now without any outside contact. The manager has to answer complaints herself and only if still not resolved do they got to trustee board . Still very undecided what to do. Be interested to hear how you're getting on. Thanks.
 

Louie16

Registered User
Mar 31, 2020
34
Dear Louie 16, I have exactly the same concerns as yourself about the possibility of a second wave of infection in the autumn. Then all the care homes could be locked down again. I am lucky in that my husband has a social worker. I asked her to formally review my husband to see if he could be looked after at home. The review is still underway and is involving social services, the community psychiatric nurse and district nurses and the care home. Things are not looking too good as my husband needs repositioning and personal care by two carers every 4 hours through the day and night. He can also get agitated at night and then he needs a lot of reassurance. Four of the key points if considering a transfer back home are : can the loved ones needs be safely met; will the Covid infection risk to them and you be higher because of carers coming in, have you got enough support and what would happen if you became ill? There is an awful lot to think through but I've found the process of going through things with the social worker very helpful. I hope that you're able to have some happier visits to your Mum soon. We need to keep writing to the MPs, media and anyone who might be able to help!!!
Hi granny shoe,
Thankyou for your information on your current discussions. Yes these are issues I am worrying about everyday. What would happen if I was I'll, what if carers brought it in ? Mums also a night wanderer. But also how do I live with not looking after my own mum with family, she's worked hard all her life ,looked after us and never wanted to be there. The staff just have no time at all, it's all about cleaning now and preventing them mixing with anyone in the home. I've tried talk about it with manager recently but she's not really understanding and there's been issues I've not been happy about with her before lockdown. In end I asked her to send me complaints form but as yet not filled it in . Residents are so vulnerable now without any outside contact. The manager has to answer complaints herself and only if still not resolved do they got to trustee board . Still very undecided what to do. Be interested to hear how you're getting on. Thanks.
My garden visit to my Mum was cancelled last Friday because they had two positive cases of Covid 19. By Sunday, the home went into total lockdown as after retesting, they had 10 positive cases in residents - one being my Mum! Also some staff tested positive.

I was shocked at the rapid change and I wonder if they will ever allow visiting again.
I think these rules and regulations are getting out of hand now and I feel the manager of my Mums home says no to everything and is doing everything to make things more difficult as some of has very little logic. I also definitely think she hates
 

Louie16

Registered User
Mar 31, 2020
34
@Kellyr @Lynmax @Baker17 @intheloop @Wishing20
This update email is useful perhaps in negotiating visits and maintaing contact.

Below we summarise some of the key information . While it is a step forward that this guidance has been published, we know there is more to be done so people living with dementia in care homes can have visits from their loved ones, in ways that work for them.

The guidance states that care homes should ensure all residents and their families are aware of visiting policies – please do ask your care home for their policy. Their policy should consider:
  • the importance of consulting advocates for residents and their loved ones in decisions on care
  • whether residents' needs make visits particularly crucial. For example, for people with dementia, restricting visitors can cause distress, which should be mitigated as far as possible
  • whether visitors provide care that staff cannot replicate, or if visitors are included in a person's care plan. If so, the policy should reference what can be done to facilitate this care with use of PPE
  • whether any cultural or religious needs have been identified in order to better support residents
  • if further periods of lockdown arise, what alternative options will the care home put in place to mainatin social contact, and to ensure personalised updates are provided to loved ones
We will now be working to make sure this guidance is implemented in local areas in a way that works best for care home residents living with dementia and their families. We will have more information on the guidance available soon, as well as how you can use it to ensure care home visits work for you and your loved one.

We always want to make sure we are campaigning on the issues that matter most to you, so please do let us know how the guidance is working, and what issues you are coming up against when trying to plan care home visits by emailing change@alzheimers.org.uk.
 

Baker17

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
716
@Kellyr @Lynmax @Baker17 @intheloop @Wishing20
This update email is useful perhaps in negotiating visits and maintaing contact.

Below we summarise some of the key information . While it is a step forward that this guidance has been published, we know there is more to be done so people living with dementia in care homes can have visits from their loved ones, in ways that work for them.

The guidance states that care homes should ensure all residents and their families are aware of visiting policies – please do ask your care home for their policy. Their policy should consider:
  • the importance of consulting advocates for residents and their loved ones in decisions on care
  • whether residents' needs make visits particularly crucial. For example, for people with dementia, restricting visitors can cause distress, which should be mitigated as far as possible
  • whether visitors provide care that staff cannot replicate, or if visitors are included in a person's care plan. If so, the policy should reference what can be done to facilitate this care with use of PPE
  • whether any cultural or religious needs have been identified in order to better support residents
  • if further periods of lockdown arise, what alternative options will the care home put in place to mainatin social contact, and to ensure personalised updates are provided to loved ones
We will now be working to make sure this guidance is implemented in local areas in a way that works best for care home residents living with dementia and their families. We will have more information on the guidance available soon, as well as how you can use it to ensure care home visits work for you and your loved one.

We always want to make sure we are campaigning on the issues that matter most to you, so please do let us know how the guidance is working, and what issues you are coming up against when trying to plan care home visits by emailing change@alzheimers.org.uk.
@Louie16 i did e mail the service manager quoting all the above. I received a reply saying they were taking advice but I haven’t seen or heard what or if any advice they are taking on board. The OT from the chess team has set up an outside visit for tomorrow but I’ve no idea what has been done to try to make the visit work. One thing I asked about was the use of a face visor since the visit is outdoors 2 metres apart, this was met with a resounding NO as I will be breathing the same air as my husband. The problem last time was that I had a mask on and my husband walked straight past me so I haven’t much faith that things will be any better tomorrow.
 

nipper

Registered User
Dec 27, 2012
26
hertfordshire
I must say that I have been in the same position as the earlier reports, My wife has Alzheimer's and has been in a care home for over 5 years. I have not been able to go into the home since March. Some outdoor visits have been made but as said they are from 2 metres and I have to wear a mask. Essentially I get no reaction as she doesn't open her eyes. We miss the personal contact. Like has been said the homes seem to arrange a one size fits all rule which may work for some but it doesn't for me. I have written to my MP on 28 June but so far I have only received an acknowledgement. Since then the Government guidance was issued on 31st July which seems to pass the decision onto local organisations. We live in hope.
 

Nomorepets

Registered User
May 26, 2020
29
Slightly off topic. We went to have a look around a home this week and although it was lovely and provided all that we might need for respite at the moment. I was shocked that we were the only people wearing a face mask. When I asked the manager if this was normal, she replied that they had not had any cases of C-19 so decided not to use them so's not to scare the residents. Outside visitors were asked to clean their hands and that was it. Have to say, I was very paranoid about my old mum catching something. It was very clean, staff friendly, the mask thing was my only concern. I checked the reports and although problems in the past, nothing in the past 3 years or so.
 

Louie16

Registered User
Mar 31, 2020
34
@Louie16 i did e mail the service manager quoting all the above. I received a reply saying they were taking advice but I haven’t seen or heard what or if any advice they are taking on board. The OT from the chess team has set up an outside visit for tomorrow but I’ve no idea what has been done to try to make the visit work. One thing I asked about was the use of a face visor since the visit is outdoors 2 metres apart, this was met with a resounding NO as I will be breathing the same air as my husband. The problem last time was that I had a mask on and my husband walked straight past me so I haven’t much faith that things will be any better tomorrow.
Yes same for me with face masks, just made mum more confused and even when I lifted it up for few seconds to smile , she seems to have forgotten me. It must be really hard for you. I know mums home is taking weekly advice from local health and they've warned even though starting visits nxt week these will be pulled at short notice if necessary. I think the points raised by Alz. Society are very pertinent as it's about the person's psychological and spiritual care which has been completely sidelined , but, it does say it's guidance so sadly I don't think we can enforce it at all, Covid risk overrides it. I hope your visit is much better tomorrow.
 

Louie16

Registered User
Mar 31, 2020
34
Slightly off topic. We went to have a look around a home this week and although it was lovely and provided all that we might need for respite at the moment. I was shocked that we were the only people wearing a face mask. When I asked the manager if this was normal, she replied that they had not had any cases of C-19 so decided not to use them so's not to scare the residents. Outside visitors were asked to clean their hands and that was it. Have to say, I was very paranoid about my old mum catching something. It was very clean, staff friendly, the mask thing was my only concern. I checked the reports and although problems in the past, nothing in the past 3 years or so.
Yes can understand yr concerns, would think masks need to be worn under 2 metres and this is pretty much a lot of the time with residents. Check if they're following local public health policy, they should be able to give you their advice on email, I've asked our home to do this and they're doing so which helps understand it's not just being made up as it were. If it's for respite ,always look at least 3 homes to make decision I think is good advice.
 

Baker17

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
716
Yes same for me with face masks, just made mum more confused and even when I lifted it up for few seconds to smile , she seems to have forgotten me. It must be really hard for you. I know mums home is taking weekly advice from local health and they've warned even though starting visits nxt week these will be pulled at short notice if necessary. I think the points raised by Alz. Society are very pertinent as it's about the person's psychological and spiritual care which has been completely sidelined , but, it does say it's guidance so sadly I don't think we can enforce it at all, Covid risk overrides it. I hope your visit is much better tomorrow.
@Louie16 thanks for replying, I’m not confident it will be but I’ll give it a go. The frustrating thing is when I’ve been doing window visits without a mask my husband is so pleased to see me but says come in let’s go and then wanders off, I’m sorry your mother doesn’t seem recognise you that’s my worst fear that he’ll forget me. x
 

Lynmax

Registered User
Nov 1, 2016
554
Slightly off topic. We went to have a look around a home this week and although it was lovely and provided all that we might need for respite at the moment. I was shocked that we were the only people wearing a face mask. When I asked the manager if this was normal, she replied that they had not had any cases of C-19 so decided not to use them so's not to scare the residents. Outside visitors were asked to clean their hands and that was it. Have to say, I was very paranoid about my old mum catching something. It was very clean, staff friendly, the mask thing was my only concern. I checked the reports and although problems in the past, nothing in the past 3 years or so.
I am surprised that you were allowed inside the home to look round, you could be asymptomatic and spread the virus during your visit. When my mum was discharged from hospital into a home in April, we could not visit it first, just chatted on the phone and dropped off her belongings in reception. No one other than staff are allowed inside, not even the hairdresser and certainly not families. All staff wear masks and we had to wear them for our outdoor gazebo visits.

The home sound a bit complacent, where my mum is they had only two cases and no deaths but then a week ago, ten residents and a number of staff tested positive so they've gone into lck down again. The home is in Stockport, an area with a spike in cases and now part of the NW restrictions but it just shows how contagious this virus is.
 

Bod

Registered User
Aug 30, 2013
1,306
Before demanding visits, please consider how you will feel after recieving the phone call to say your loved one has passed from Covid 19, due to the infection being brought into the home by visitors. Of which you were one.
The Home has a duty of Care to the resident, which includes protection from preventable diesease.
You would be most unhappy if the Home were to allow a man-eating lion to roam the premises unhindered. Covid is not much different.

Bod
 

Cauli

Registered User
Jul 7, 2017
1
Hi
this is the first time I have posted but read lots of intresting tips and ideas over the years.
My mum went into a nursing home from hospital 5 weeks ago. We are lucky in some respects she has a window that we can talk to her through but all we want to do is hold her hand, my dad is distraught she is also asking to come home.. What I am struggling with is why ? cant we sit with disposable gloves on and hold her hand as that's all she wants ....what qualitity of life life have they got not having physical touch -how long can this go on for to think i cant hold her hand or give her a hug is heart breaking. :(
No disrespect to the carers but they can be in the pub all weekend and they got every right to if that is what they want but we cant even with ppe touch our loved ones .
is it worth writing to our MPS as we depriving our loved ones of basic human right.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
551
Slightly off topic. We went to have a look around a home this week and although it was lovely and provided all that we might need for respite at the moment. I was shocked that we were the only people wearing a face mask. When I asked the manager if this was normal, she replied that they had not had any cases of C-19 so decided not to use them so's not to scare the residents. Outside visitors were asked to clean their hands and that was it. Have to say, I was very paranoid about my old mum catching something. It was very clean, staff friendly, the mask thing was my only concern. I checked the reports and although problems in the past, nothing in the past 3 years or so.
I am not taking any sides on this topic.

To assist others in viewing the problem from one of the many sides, I would suggest readers try correctly fitting a hospital grade mask, then get out their vacuum cleaner and hoover the whole house. At no point must the mask be removed.
Evaluate how they feel at the end of the exercise ?

The other problem with the masks is many people with dementia are deaf. When robbed of the ability to lip read they say ‘ I can’t hear you’ the person then ups the volume. what is the difference between upping the volume and shouting ? Very subtle at times? How tragic for the older person.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,411
South coast
I dont wish to wade in on this topic either, but I would like to point out that surgeons wear medical grade masks for hours on end with no problems.
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
551
I dont wish to wade in on this topic either, but I would like to point out that surgeons wear medical grade masks for hours on end with no problems.
Such a good point Canary !
But kind of part of my thoughts too.
Traditionally, who wore masks?
surgeons and dentists?
What do they have in common ? They hardly move from the spot where their standing?
Now think about the early days of Covid on the news ? Pictures of the teams having to wear PPE and the extra teams being brought in so they could have frequent breaks to cope etc!
Now imagine a care assistant in a home at the moment.
No extra staff. Plenty of old people, many unable to leave the bed.
All need washing and the bed sheets changing single handed.
And how hot is it in that environment ?

Its so easy to be an armchair judge ? ( I am often guilty of this one !)
My suggestion isn’t criticism of anyone, it is genuinely meant to make people think?
If anyone takes the challenge on I think they will be genuinely surprised .
Wearing a mask while wandering round Tesco bares no comparison to wearing one when doing hard physical work with no respite. The problem being you physically cannot get enough oxygen to breath.
 
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canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,411
South coast
Traditionally, who wore masks?
surgeons and dentists?
What do they have in common ? They hardly move from the spot where their standing?
I take it that the main scourse of your knowledge is stuff you see on TV. Surgeons who do delicate stuff like eye surgery do tend to stay in one spot, but not all sugery is like that. A lot of it is more brutal than they like to show on TV and requires handling heavy equipment- orthopaedic surgery in particular is renowned for requiring strength.
Now think about the early days of Covid on the news ? Pictures of the teams having to wear PPE and the extra teams being brought in so they could have frequent breaks to cope etc!
Staff on covid wards have to wear much, much more than simple masks - gowns, aprons, double gloving, goggles and face shields as well as the masks, most of which care assistants are not required to wear. It is mostly the heat that is the problem when you are almost completely covered in plastic.

Im sory, but I dont have much sympathy for people who do not have an underlying problem and simply refuse to wear a mask
 

Weasell

Registered User
Oct 21, 2019
551
I am sorry if my post seems to say I have sympathy for people who do not have an underlying problem and simply refuse to wear a mask.
I have obviously communicated badly , as this is not the case.