We have highlighted the many concerns people have about the arrangements for care home visiting. We offer our support to all those trying to get the issue addressed and action taken.
- Long-standing unhappiness amongst families denied the freedom to visit loved ones in care homes is being addressed by MPs and the Human Rights legislation, hoping to achieve a more humane ruling: MPs call for Covid ban on care home visits in England to be made illegal | World news | The Guardian
This the latest from John’s Campaign – a Joint Statement
John’s Campaign | Feb 9, 2021
Hearts across the country began to lift when the Government was able to announce that (in England at least) almost all the older people who live in care homes had been offered vaccination against the worst effects of Covid-19. No one is pretending that this will make the virus go away but it needs to make a difference for those who are desperate to be reunited as they see the grim anniversary of their separation approaching. It alters the balance of risk for individuals and makes it more viable for residents and families to make their own choices, always acting responsibly and supported by the best infection control precautions that are now available. People need hope for the future and they also need actions. We are so glad to be making this statement with some of our partner organisations:
As we see Coronavirus case numbers falling, we appeal for urgent and united action to re-open care homes. Getting back to a position where everyone can receive meaningful indoor visits is a matter of safety, common decency, and fundamental human rights. As a first step towards a wider process of ‘opening up’, we believe that this must be in place for all residents and their essential caregivers by the 1st March.
If we delay any longer, many residents will have waited more than a year to see and touch their loved ones. This is unacceptable and cannot be allowed to continue. The absence of meaningful indoor visiting fails to recognise the fundamental role that relationships and love play in a resident’s wellbeing.
Essential caregivers are more than ‘just’ visitors. They should be recognised as central to the person’s care; enabled to provide the support crucial to the health and well-being of their loved one; and provided with relevant PPE and testing in line with the safety measures applied to the staff. Through the use of individual assessments, care homes should balance the risk of harm from the virus with the risk of harm from isolation and lack of connection with those important to the resident. But from the beginning of March essential caregivers should no longer be kept away from their loved-one.
Ultimately it is impossible to entirely eliminate risk. Providers, commissioners, relatives, friends, regulators and the wider public must recognise this as a shared priority – holding a collective responsibility for what we know is right for humanity.
Many care homes have continued to offer visiting throughout the pandemic, balancing risks via individual assessments. Their leadership has been vitally important in showing what is possible. All care homes must now be better supported to enable meaningful visiting. At the same time, many relatives and friends have worked tirelessly to ensure that their loved ones in care homes are not forgotten by ‘the outside world’. They have eloquently articulated how grave the risks residents face as a result of the pandemic are to their wellbeing and sense of selfhood, as well as to their physical safety.
Together we must work to ensure that by 1 March, essential caregivers can, once again, visit their loved ones in care homes. We are calling on care providers, relatives and friends, local and national government and the regulator to work together to make this a reality. Despite our different roles we all want the same thing. We want mother and daughter, father and son, life-time partners, close friends and neighbours to be confident that within weeks they can be reunited and be made whole again. And we want this to happen in a way that brings everyone involved together, not drives them further apart.
Although this statement is limited to England we feel passionately about the restoration of meaningful relationships across all of the UK.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK
Nicci Gerrard & Julia Jones, Co-founders at John’s Campaign
Vic Rayner – Executive Director at National Care Forum
Helen Wildbore – Director at Relatives & Residents Association
Diane Mayhew – Joint Founder at Rights for Residents
Ian Turner – Chair of the Registered Nursing Homes Association