When will care homes be open to visitors again?

Bevmall1

New member
May 28, 2020
4
I have not seen my mum for over 4 months - she is in a care home and has dementia x I watch the government press conference each day and am increasingly despairing that there is rarely a mention of when we will be likely to see our loved ones again x it seems that pubs and fast food restaurants are getting more focus!
My mum has also been on room lockdown for over five weeks which as a family we are finding hard to take. We are told it is because the lift area ( she is on the first floor) is a “clean” area x we think the lack of fresh air and being effectively “trapped” in a small bedroom is starting to feel inhumane but feel helpless how to act as told it is guidance from public health. My mum has been tested for covid 19 and tested negative

can anyone provide advice/guidance on these matters? We realise how hard this time has been for carers etc and feel so incredibly grateful but as time passes we are starting to feel increasingly helpless and cannot understand why room lockdown persists but don’t want to upset the Apple cart at the home so to speak

very difficult line to walk

thank you!
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,388
Hi @Bevmall1 , that doesn't sound ideal for your mum. I haven't seen or spoken to mine since the middle of March. The home would arrange skype or phone calls but mum has macular degeneration and I'm deaf so I'm not sure how useful it would be for either of us. The home does post pictures on Facebook and contact me from time to time. From what I understand they are taking residents out to the garden on a rota. They have had cases of Covid-19, and I think they have encouraged residents to stay in their rooms, but not enforced it. I don't think you could for my mum without actually using physical restraint.
I think the way to go might be to contact the manager and explain in a non confrontational way your concerns. Listen to what they have to say and if you are not satisfied contact the head office, assuming it isn't a stand alone home. I', sure others who have faced similar problems will be along soon.
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,127
Welcome to the forum @Bevmall1 There's lots of us here who are in the same position, and it's been really hard. My mum has been in lockdown for over 2 months now, mainly confined to her room (she is not mobile but comes out of her room in a chair). When I contacted the manager a month ago to ask if I could see mum through a window the response was not at the moment as there was a total lockdown in place within the home so nobody could leave their 'units'. Mum's room is on the second floor so she would have had to go into the lift if I wanted to see her. I was advised that testing was going to start and the matter would be kept under review.

I contacted the manager again this week to ask if there was any update and was advised that visits will be re-starting from this weekend, but only for those residents who can go outside into the garden. I've been told there will be an appointment system in place but don't yet know the full details eg how long the visit will last and how often the visits can take place. The manager did comment that they felt more comfortable about the situation now that tests had been conducted - although mum was negative others were not. Obviously each care home will have to risk assess the situation based on the risks that are present in the home at any given time. I imagine that if there was a current outbreak, with some residents showing symptoms which meant that moving other residents out to the garden might place them at risk then the visits would stop. I can only echo what @Sarasa has said and suggest that you have a chat with the care home manager to ask for an update on the situation. Hopefully you will get some good news soon.
 

Bevmall1

New member
May 28, 2020
4
Thank you so very much for your kind and helpful responses x I have been promised an update tomorrow and if room lockdown is extended again then I will politely say that our family have concerns and will therefore be emailing them to the manager and head office x I cannot understand why my mum cannot safely spend half an hour in the garden with the activities carer on her one to ones x I hate to think it but I just wonder if home finding it easier to manage situation with everyone in their rooms (as some staff off self isolating etc) but we don’t feel it is in mums best interests and in some way violates her human rights

our home has had one covid case and that person is now well so they have done very well. However I think there comes a point at which the risks have to be balanced against quality of life issues etc . I have been surprised that no other families appear to be raising these issues

cannot thank you all enough and I wish you and your loved ones best wishes x there has been NO suggestion of visitors or even chatting through windows yet
 

Chaplin

Registered User
May 24, 2015
59
Bristol
Thank you so very much for your kind and helpful responses x I have been promised an update tomorrow and if room lockdown is extended again then I will politely say that our family have concerns and will therefore be emailing them to the manager and head office x I cannot understand why my mum cannot safely spend half an hour in the garden with the activities carer on her one to ones x I hate to think it but I just wonder if home finding it easier to manage situation with everyone in their rooms (as some staff off self isolating etc) but we don’t feel it is in mums best interests and in some way violates her human rights

our home has had one covid case and that person is now well so they have done very well. However I think there comes a point at which the risks have to be balanced against quality of life issues etc . I have been surprised that no other families appear to be raising these issues

cannot thank you all enough and I wish you and your loved ones best wishes x there has been NO suggestion of visitors or even chatting through windows yet
Hi, as others have said we are sadly all in a similar situation. My mum was locked in her room for two weeks at the beginning of lockdown. I expressed my concern for mum and her mental wellbeing and was told it was PHE advice. I read PHE advice from cover to cover and nowhere did it say locking residents in their rooms was permitted so I complained to CQC. They took this up with the home and manager told doors must not be locked! For the next few weeks after although residents were still mostly in their rooms, the staff started to take small groups outside or to the lounge and in recent weeks, has reintroduced meals in the dining lounge. Mum has been much better since she has been able to wander again. You are right, it is easier for the Carers to have everyone in their room but now that testing is more accessible, there shouldn’t be any reason lack of staff which was the big issue early on.
I think you should raise your concerns with the manager and I agree 100% that quality of life has to be balanced with all the other health risks.

I do hope for everyone’s sake but especially our loved one’s, that restricted visits are allowed soon which is the discussion I had with mum’s care home manager today. Limited visits by appointment in the garden or residents room to begin with.
 

Bevmall1

New member
May 28, 2020
4
Thank you so very much for your kind and helpful responses x I have been promised an update tomorrow and if room lockdown is extended again then I will politely say that our family have concerns and will therefore be emailing them to the manager and head office x I cannot understand why my mum cannot safely spend half an hour in the garden with the activities carer on her one to ones x I hate to think it but I just wonder if home finding it easier to manage situation with everyone in their rooms (as some staff off self isolating etc) but we don’t feel it is in mums best interests and in some way violates her human rights

our home has had one covid case and that person is now well so they have done very well. However I think there comes a point at which the risks have to be balanced against quality of life issues etc . I have been surprised that no other families appear to be raising these issues

cannot thank you all enough and I wish you and your loved ones best wishes x there has been NO suggestion of visitors or even chatting through windows yet
 

Amelie5a

Registered User
Nov 5, 2014
118
Scotland
I so sympathise. I cared for my Dad in his own home for four years until he moved into full-time care in January. it broke my heart to do that, but felt the time had come as I couldn't go on much longer.

The only way I could reconcile it was that I got to be a daughter again, rather than an ever more knackered carer. But, along came Covid-19, and I haven't seen Dad since March 7.

I just dread seeing how much he's deteriorated in that time - the last two phone calls ( always tricky as he doesn't hear well) were difficult as I think he'd no sense of who I was. He's also been getting aggressive during personal care.

Here in Scotland there's an advisory group meeting, discussing when/how to open care homes to visitors - but there's massive concern about the risk of increasing infection rates by doing so. Whilst I completely get that, I can't help but wonder about the harm being done to people with dementia who have no understanding of lockdown and the reason for it. My biggest fear is that, deep inside, my Dad just feels abandoned.
 

Bevmall1

New member
May 28, 2020
4
Oh I am so sorry to hear of your pain and I really DO understand how you are feeling x my mum has been in care for over two years and my dad and I have still not really accepted it if I’m honest . I now feel so helpless as we don’t seem to be getting any answers from the home and I always feel like I am bothering them if I do ring up . A group chat was set up by the home when this all happened and it was active at first but we seem to have heard nothing for weeks x I’m surprised that I seem to be the only family member raising questions on it which in many ways makes it harder for me to challenge practice

we walk a very fine line because we want to ensure that our loved ones continue to receive the appropriate care and protection and also don’t want carers to start resenting our loved ones if we challenge decisions - and also know how much we Appreciate their dedication and hard work at this most difficult of times - but at the same time it is our duty to advocate on their behalf

I cry every night after watching the government press conferences which talk about meeting friends soon to be able to get hair cute and a Mcdonalds again - as if these are the things that matter to us! Feel like elderly people and care homes and the plight of them and their families has just been forgotten

sending love and hope that you can see your dear dad very soon - I’m starting to despair and lose hope for my own mum and her situation if I’m honest xxxx
 

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
71,347
Kent
I can`t imagine the pain caused by this isolation and separation and can only hope visiting will soon be allowed.

Although it no longer applies to me, I wonder how my husband would have reacted to seeing me in a mask and PPE. He hardly knew me at the best of times and I imagine this would have been quite frightening.
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,207
Welcome to the forum @Bevmall1 There's lots of us here who are in the same position, and it's been really hard. My mum has been in lockdown for over 2 months now, mainly confined to her room (she is not mobile but comes out of her room in a chair). When I contacted the manager a month ago to ask if I could see mum through a window the response was not at the moment as there was a total lockdown in place within the home so nobody could leave their 'units'. Mum's room is on the second floor so she would have had to go into the lift if I wanted to see her. I was advised that testing was going to start and the matter would be kept under review.

I contacted the manager again this week to ask if there was any update and was advised that visits will be re-starting from this weekend, but only for those residents who can go outside into the garden. I've been told there will be an appointment system in place but don't yet know the full details eg how long the visit will last and how often the visits can take place. The manager did comment that they felt more comfortable about the situation now that tests had been conducted - although mum was negative others were not. Obviously each care home will have to risk assess the situation based on the risks that are present in the home at any given time. I imagine that if there was a current outbreak, with some residents showing symptoms which meant that moving other residents out to the garden might place them at risk then the visits would stop. I can only echo what @Sarasa has said and suggest that you have a chat with the care home manager to ask for an update on the situation. Hopefully you will get some good news
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,207
Meeting Mum in the garden sounds like a brilliant idea but I live 3 and a half hours drive away and the hotels aren't open yet.
What am I meant to do?
It would mean a 7 hr drive for my husband and the weather might not hold out ...it might rain when we get there. Presumably we won't be able to spend a long time with her when we do get there.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
283
i saw in the paper that some homes are doing a drive through so can see relative with you in the car. windows or roofs down they bring the residents out to you
 

Wishing20

New member
Feb 27, 2020
7
I have not seen my mum for over 4 months - she is in a care home and has dementia x I watch the government press conference each day and am increasingly despairing that there is rarely a mention of when we will be likely to see our loved ones again x it seems that pubs and fast food restaurants are getting more focus!
My mum has also been on room lockdown for over five weeks which as a family we are finding hard to take. We are told it is because the lift area ( she is on the first floor) is a “clean” area x we think the lack of fresh air and being effectively “trapped” in a small bedroom is starting to feel inhumane but feel helpless how to act as told it is guidance from public health. My mum has been tested for covid 19 and tested negative

can anyone provide advice/guidance on these matters? We realise how hard this time has been for carers etc and feel so incredibly grateful but as time passes we are starting to feel increasingly helpless and cannot understand why room lockdown persists but don’t want to upset the Apple cart at the home so to speak

very difficult line to walk

thank you!
The Guardian report resonates with my family. My Mother is a fit and active person who has Alzheimer’s, and because she cant cope with normal life is in an excellent care home, which has made a difference to her life as they provide the safe, caring and stimulating environment which she needs. BUT throughout her life she has loved the outdoors and prior to Covid I was able to take her out everyday, all her needs were met. Now.... she has been in lockdown in the Home for 10 weeks. I know the Home has ensured Covid hasn’t taken any of the beloved residents and that’s an excellent outcome... BUT for how long do you keep the fit and able locked in?? How long do you keep people who need their family away from them? Time is against the victims of Alzheimer’s, every day matters. We need The Government to address this and give guidance to the Care Homes. Who is going to look after our loved ones better than their family? There is a moral balance here which needs to be addressed as a matter or urgency.
Every evening that I go to my bed I think of my Mother and wrestle with the current situation., I feel for her, I wonder what she is thinking whilst she is in Lockdown, and I bet she is confused and wondering where I am and why she cannot go out and how long will this go on for.
Other people that are shielding can make a choice, it appears my Mother cannot!! and I feel helpless and distraught. We have to speak out for those who cannot. This cannot continue.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,221
My mother is in a care home, they have had no cases of Covid and the residents are using the whole house - everything is as normal except there are no visitors. The staff have worked very hard to ensure the CH stays Covid free.

I spoke to the manager on Friday, they have test kits arriving tomorrow - they have been asking for them for weeks. They are testing staff tomorrow, and then the residents. I was asked for consent on behalf of my mother.

She said they are considering how to re-start visits. Visits will have to be pre-booked and they are thinking about setting aside one room for it. There is a small lounge which has french doors through to an outside space, which might be a good option.
 

Susan11

Registered User
Nov 18, 2018
2,207
Meeting Mum in the garden sounds like a brilliant idea but I live 3 and a half hours drive away and the hotels aren't open yet.
What am I meant to do?
It would mean a 7 hr drive for my husband and the weather might not hold out ...it might rain when we get there. Presumably we won't be able to spend a long time with her when we do get there.
Further thought...where would we go to the loo? I can't see the Care Home letting us in to go the loo. Does anyone have any ideas of what is the best thing to do?
 

Louise7

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
2,127
Meeting Mum in the garden sounds like a brilliant idea but I live 3 and a half hours drive away and the hotels aren't open yet. What am I meant to do?
It would mean a 7 hr drive for my husband and the weather might not hold out ...it might rain when we get there. Presumably we won't be able to spend a long time with her when we do get there.
Further thought...where would we go to the loo? I can't see the Care Home letting us in to go the loo. Does anyone have any ideas of what is the best thing to do?
Sorry, I haven't any suggestions @Susan11 Maybe best to speak to your mum's care home about their arrangements? I hadn't thought about needing the loo! :oops: When I see mum in the garden tomorrow I'll find out a bit more about what her home are doing with regards length & frequency of visits, although the manager did say that they were also going to send a letter to relatives families with details. They have a gazebo plus umbrellas over the tables so if there's a shower people would keep dry but if the weather was bad I guess they wouldn't be letting the residents go outdoors.
 
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Amelie5a

Registered User
Nov 5, 2014
118
Scotland
Today I came across this video from Reuters. It shows how one French Care Home has found a way for visitors to hug their relatives. I'd do that to hug Dad - though he might just try to pull it down!