Visiting. Honestly what is the real risk now?

Exning

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
58
0
Really confused with the mixed messages we get over the current situation with Covid.
We are told that virtually all older people in care homes have received their first vaccination.
We are told that the first vaccination is confidently considered to protect against serious complication of Covid.
We are increasingly having older people vaccinated so a lot of visitors to care homes will equally have had their vaccine.
We know that 30+% of care home staff are still not vaccinated.
So what is the risk of visits to residents. Or is it a risk to the staff who in honesty should have been forced to vaccinate....
I accept that any person in a home is vulnerable, but that has always been the case. Normal years it is Flu and Norovirus.
The lack of interaction with family is actually more destructive now than any risk of Covid!
Why won't the media ask these difficult questions?
 

karaokePete

Registered User
Jul 23, 2017
6,331
0
N Ireland
Given that vaccines do not give 100% protection, even after the 2nd dose, I think the authorities are stuck between a rock and a hard place on this. To err on the side of caution seems to be the way they intend to proceed and given that the UK has one of the worlds worst death rates, when considered by population size, I can see why they are acting like this.

There is a chorus of voices highlighting the conflicting messages and the harm lockdowns are doing so I don't think the authorities are unaware of the issues involved.

Lockdown is very hard and I wish it would end sooner, rather than later. You seem to imply that people should be allowed to accept some element of risk and I agree that that has to be the way of the medium or long term future as Covid isn't going to burn out any time soon. Of course, that's just my opinion.
 

Exning

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
58
0
I agree nothing gives total protection but the damage by non contact is now more arguably far greater. The Gov seems to give a little sweetener every so often to dampen the upset their care home policy is causing. They then fail to mandate change but leave it to the care homes to risk manage without support or guidance. Care homes are paranoid about being sued and have great difficulty with insurance. Lateral flow tests, and vaccination by visitors could have been a logical way forward. The reality some homes insist on PCR testing and the vaccination of visitors is seen as a total no go. The media will be full of reports of the new policy without any critique of what improvement it is in reality making. I hate to say this but the medium to long term will be too late for a lot of people. Just think the questions and debate should be far more open
 

anxious annie

Registered User
Jan 2, 2019
810
0
I agree @Exning now that residents have all had their first dose of the vaccine which gives very good protection from serious illness and also has some effect on transmission there is more risk of declining mental health from preventing meaningful contact with family . Covid will be with us for a very long time, and I hope that in June when everyone else is able to return to mixing with friends and family, eating out, going on holiday etc , that residents in care homes will be allowed the same privileges. I feel the Government is being over cautious because of the fiasco with care homes at the start of the pandemic which resulted in so many deaths.
Sadly many residents do not have time on their side to wait for a medium or long term future . They want to enjoy what is remaining of their life whilst they can.
I don't think it's good enough to merely promise the possibility of being allowed 2 visitors from step 2 , if the Government feel the data is ok. Also if there is an outbreak in the care home (2 cases), then PHE says the home must close for 28 days to protect the vulnerable residents ( 28 days is twice the 14 day incubation period). So they have no visits for a month. Now we are in a much better place than when this rule came out last March, because of the vaccine making residents much less vulnerable , and testing for family, this rule needs to change.
The media need to highlight this ruling as the general public are not aware of this and just think all residents are having "regular" visits ( for some homes "regular" means half an hour once a fortnight , and fewer pod visits because staff are tied up with LFT for indoor visits)
Sadly residents are forgotten about again , when they will ever be allowed outside of their prison, who knows?
 

Lone Wolf

Registered User
Sep 20, 2020
195
0
I agree @anxious annie and @Exning. No other sector of society has been denied normal human relationships for 12 months now, with no end any time soon.

When 19 months ago I had to make the long dreaded decision for my partner to be admitted to a nursing home, the only consolation was that I could visit for 4 to 6 hours every day, so that she did not have to face her inexorable Alzheimer's journey alone. I was extremely anxious at one time when I could not attend the nursing home for 4 days in a row due to having a bad cold. That is the absolute worst thing for me about this care home lockdown - that I cannot be there to provide all my possible support to my partner of 36 years as her Alzheimer's inevitably progresses.
 
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Palerider

Registered User
Aug 9, 2015
3,190
0
North West
Mums had her second jab today and I have also had mine, so I will be writing to the care home manager to ask about what happens now. Will beinteresting to see what comes
 

Bezzy1946

Registered User
Jul 18, 2017
54
0
75
Watford
Mums had her second jab today and I have also had mine, so I will be writing to the care home manager to ask about what happens now. Will beinteresting to see what comes
It makes me so sad to read all your messages not being able to see my darling for most of last year was awful as his dementia got worse. The last time I saw him was just before Christmas and he passed away on January 5th from sepsis. Just been scattering his ashes today 😢😢 I hope for you all that have loved ones in care homes that lockdown ends soon and you can give your loved ones hugs and kisses ❤️❤️❤️
 

LynnC123

Registered User
Aug 21, 2021
15
0
We have got to a point where I think my mum would be better/safer/happier in a care home. Her daily at home carers have always worn PPE, but family never have. It would be so distressing for her, it's inconceivable. So what do we do? Other grandparents get to have family visits, and hug and kiss, without masks. Why not care home residents? My sister and I are now totally conflicted about what to do for the best for our mum. I'm interested to hear others' feelings and experiences of this.
 

Lone Wolf

Registered User
Sep 20, 2020
195
0
If you do have to succumb to the care home option, which can become unavoidable, try to have your visiting rights written into the contract, as an Essential Caregiver, with the same rights to be with your Mum as the care staff regardless of PHE advice or outbreaks. After 18 months, and countless non-visting periods (including currently due to one positive test), I am still at the mercy of the care home for very restricted visiting of my partner of 36 years. It is just cruel, heartless & diabolical.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
We have got to a point where I think my mum would be better/safer/happier in a care home. Her daily at home carers have always worn PPE, but family never have. It would be so distressing for her, it's inconceivable. So what do we do? Other grandparents get to have family visits, and hug and kiss, without masks. Why not care home residents? My sister and I are now totally conflicted about what to do for the best for our mum. I'm interested to hear others' feelings and experiences of this.
I agree with you. My mother has only ever been visited by people in masks gowns and gloves in 16 months. It is inhuman and inconsistent with a policy of making life for her remaining days as pleasant as possible.
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,349
0
Kent
I now visit my family and my son and adult grandchildren visit me, but there is no hugging yet.

I would have hated to have visited my husband in a mask, never mind full PPE, I doubt he would have accepted me and I`m sure it would have increased his confusion.

We have such a blame culture now and standards of hygiene vary. If one person visits, all must be allowed to visit and I would hate the responsibility of deciding yea or nay.

I`m grateful not to be in this situation and my heart goes out to those of you who are.
 

Lone Wolf

Registered User
Sep 20, 2020
195
0
@Grannie G, this is really the crux of the issue. In my experience there are three broad categories of visitors:

1. Those few in number that, following their loved one moving into a care home, treat the care home as an integral part of their life and need to be able to continue the relationship with their loved one by visiting without restriction. Normally these are partners or children with a very close relationship to their loved one.

2. Those that wish to visit their loved one regularly, perhaps several times a week.

3. Those that feel a duty to visit their loved one, but perhaps are not that discomforted by visiting restrictions because it absolves any possible guilt for not otherwise visiting.

This variability is implicitly recognised in the government visiting guidelines which emphasise the need for individual visiting risk assessments for each resident. The trouble is that too many care homes treat visiting as a blanket policy, without recognising the individual types of visitors, and are unwilling to consider individual risk assessments. And there is really no excuse for this because the care homes will know full well which type of visitor a person is if they have an established visiting history with the care home, as is so often the case.

And to challenge care homes regarding their visiting policy is problematic because in order to ensure good care for your loved one, it is important to have a good relationship with the care home.
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
2,474
0
Newcastle
I am not sure that I agree with your analysis. It seems very broadbrush and a tad judgemental. It takes no account of barriers and commitments that may stop people visiting when and as often as they would wish to.

It is not the job of care homes to look into the motivation of visitors and, in my opinion, unrealistic to expect them to make different rules based on perceptions rather than facts. I visited my wife 'without restriction' several times a week before the pandemic. I made friends with the staff and residents. I am not sure which of your categories would apply to me. Each of them is of value, however, and none of them is guilt free.

What is missing is any recognition that progression of dementia can change fundamentally how often one visits, for how long and what one does during a visit. Two years ago my wife was happy to go for walks or to a local cafe. Now she may go as far as the garden but is happier to stay indoors. We are more likely to sit in companiable silence than to have any sort of conversation.

This has nothing to do with Covid or restrictions. Wearing PPE is not a barrier to my wife knowing me. My voice, the look in my eyes, the way I hold her hand and all that we have shared are still the same. Dementia has continued to diminish her and would have done so pandemic or not. It can be hard to take, but my visits are about doing the best for her. My needs are secondary. Adapting to be the type of visitor she needs now is what matters most.
 
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LynnC123

Registered User
Aug 21, 2021
15
0
ThathaI am not sure that I agree with your analysis. It seems very broadbrush and a tad judgemental. It is not the job of care homes to look into the motivation of visitors and, in my opinion, unrealistic to expect them to make different rules based on perceptions rather than facts. I visited my wife 'without restriction' several times a week before the pandemic. I made friends with the staff and residents. I am not sure which of your categories would apply to me. Each of them is of value, however, and none of them is guilt free.
What is missing is any recognition that progression of dementia can change fundamentally how often one visits and what one does during a visit. Two years ago my wife was happy to go for walks or to a local cafe. Now she may go as far as the garden but is happier to stay indoors. We are more likely to sit in companiable silence than to have any real conversation. This has nothing to do with Covid or restrictions. Wearing PPE is not a barrier to my wife knowing me. My voice, the look in my eyes, the way I hold her hand are all still the same. Dementia has continued to diminish her and would have done so anyway. It can be hard to take, but my visits are about doing the best for her. Adapting to be the type of visitor she needs now is what matters most

I am not sure that I agree with your analysis. It seems very broadbrush and a tad judgemental. It is not the job of care homes to look into the motivation of visitors and, in my opinion, unrealistic to expect them to make different rules based on perceptions rather than facts. I visited my wife 'without restriction' several times a week before the pandemic. I made friends with the staff and residents. I am not sure which of your categories would apply to me. Each of them is of value, however, and none of them is guilt free.

What is missing is any recognition that progression of dementia can change fundamentally how often one visits and what one does during a visit. Two years ago my wife was happy to go for walks or to a local cafe. Now she may go as far as the garden but is happier to stay indoors. We are more likely to sit in companiable silence than to have any real conversation. This has nothing to do with Covid or restrictions. Wearing PPE is not a barrier to my wife knowing me. My voice, the look in my eyes, the way I hold her hand are all still the same. Dementia has continued to diminish her and would have done so anyway. It can be hard to take, but my visits are about doing the best for her. Adapting to be the type of visitor she needs now is what matters most
Many thanks for sharing that experience. I can already see how mum's needs are changing. And some of my fears are probably about how we'll feel, rather than her. But I know at the moment, she hasn't really coped with her carers' PPE, and I think if we had to use it at all times , it would be very detrimental to her mental health and well-being.
 

LynnC123

Registered User
Aug 21, 2021
15
0
Current Government guidance on Visitors to Care Homes also recognises the importance of having a named Essential Care Giver, who is never restricted from contact, including physical contact, with a resident, even during a C19 lockdown situation. Are people finding that care homes are taking this on board now?
 

Exning

Registered User
Aug 26, 2018
58
0
Current Government guidance on Visitors to Care Homes also recognises the importance of having a named Essential Care Giver, who is never restricted from contact, including physical contact, with a resident, even during a C19 lockdown situation. Are people finding that care homes are taking this on board now?
Get real. Homes are risk averse and do not accept ECG without a lot of trouble. Who are going to complain to when the home is in lockdown. If you visit 3 or 4 times a week and don't give personal care they will just refuse and you shouldn't have to fight
The rules need radical change to recognise risk. Yes there's some but such that most people will accept
Be blunt about the situation a lot of residents have limited expected life this current policy is desperately cruel
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
2,026
0
65
London
Current Government guidance on Visitors to Care Homes also recognises the importance of having a named Essential Care Giver, who is never restricted from contact, including physical contact, with a resident, even during a C19 lockdown situation. Are people finding that care homes are taking this on board now?
The role of essential care giver is really supposed to be just that, someone who provides care that is essential and that cannot be given by care home staff. For example a PWD might refuse personal care such as showering from anyone other than a relative. I suspect this is not a common situation.
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
2,474
0
Newcastle
I feel that you may be right @MartinWL. It was my failure to provide essential care for my wife - personal care most especially - and to do so day in day out for 24 hours that was a key factor in her move to a care home in the first place. It took a while, but the staff got on top of her needs and she is clearly so much better cared for now than when living with me. For me to suggest that I am now needed in the role of "essential care giver" would be nonsense . I have seen this suggested by others as a way to get around current visiting rules and restrictions. For my particular circumstances that would seem wrong-headed if not unethical.

I speak to staff on my visits and all of them are looking forward to the time when they no longer have to wear PPE for 12+ hours a day. In the meantime - leaving aside the question of efficacy - I am prepared to go along with the need to book visits, take a test and wear PPE when I visit. This has been the case for so long now that my wife, if she notices at all, seems totally untroubled.
 
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TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
2,663
0
cornwall
We have got to a point where I think my mum would be better/safer/happier in a care home. Her daily at home carers have always worn PPE, but family never have. It would be so distressing for her, it's inconceivable. So what do we do? Other grandparents get to have family visits, and hug and kiss, without masks. Why not care home residents? My sister and I are now totally conflicted about what to do for the best for our mum. I'm interested to hear others' feelings and experiences of this.
Hi. My dad lives at home and has carers who wear PPE x 4 a day. They only wear the apron if doing personal care.But keep the masks on. I wear PPE if I’m helping a carer with dad’s personal care. Other than that I don’t.
 

DennyD

Registered User
Dec 6, 2016
264
0
Porthcawl, South Wales
Does the role also not include mental health wellbeing? I do not provide physical care for my husband but I believe that I am the person/should be the person who is essential to his mental health wellbeing. And yes, I admit it - to my mental health wellbeing as well. We are still married and to me still come as one package.