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To: Gillian Keegan, Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Care and Grace Magani, Public Health England, South West Health Protection Team
Care Home visiting - I want to see my husband!
Although the country has officially been out of Lockdown for a while, I have only been allowed to visit my husband for ½ an hour during the last 3 months.
What is the plan going forward Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England? There is talk of having to live with the virus, yet my husband's Care Home is still continually being shut down to visitors. What is the long-term policy for this? Are Care Home residents going to be left to languish without further thought and consideration to what constitutes an ‘outbreak’ and the subsequent procedures ?
At my husband’s Care Home, if 2 staff members test positive in their weekly tests, the South West Public Health Protection team close the home to visitors, regardless of whether the home houses 8 residents or 80 residents, 15 staff or 115. Larger homes like my husband’s suffer proportionally.
Please open homes where all residents are inoculated, all staff wear the appropriate PPE, all visitors have taken lateral flow tests and wear masks.
Why is this important?
The mental health and emotional needs of residents in Care Homes have been ignored for too long.
According to Government Guidance:
"Visiting is a central part of care home life. It is crucially important for maintaining the health, wellbeing and quality of life of residents. Visiting is also vital for family and friends to maintain contact and life-long relationships with their loved ones and contribute to their support and care".
My husband and I are ageing rapidly. He is 81, I am 80. He has dementia and I need to see him now, whilst he still knows me and before he forgets who I am. I want to be able to give him a hug, to reassure him that I still love him. To not allow me and his family to see him is nothing short of cruel.
Care Home residents are being trapped in worlds they haven't chosen with no voice and no light at the end of the tunnel for either them or the ones who love them.