By Rosalind Hughes, founder, Just Caring Legal
Since 8 March, every care home resident has been able to nominate a single named person for regular face-to-face care visits. But according to new evidence, many care homes are not following the Government guidance on this. Care homes should support face-to-face care visiting wherever it is possible to do so safely. But the Guardian newspaper has reported that too many care home operators are still restricting visits unnecessarily. Now, relatives fear a third Covid wave could mean more months of isolation for already lonely residents. More than 225,000 people have signed a petition calling for the right to be an essential visitor and caregiver to be guaranteed by law.
Campaign wants face-to-face care visits to be guaranteed by law
The campaign Rights for Residents says many care homes have “imposed blanket visiting policies that limit one family member to a meaningless 30-minute visit once a week, fortnight or every three weeks.” Where families have challenged a visiting policy, some have been asked to move their loved one to another home. As the petitioners point out, these evictions are potentially life threatening. “The risks of moving vulnerable residents can lead to transfer trauma, particularly in those living with dementia.”
They are now calling on the Government to adopt the emergency legislation proposed by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights. This would ensure every resident had access to an Essential Care Giver as an extension of the paid care team.
Family members are not “just visitors”
As the petition points out, family members are a vital component of the care environment. Or rather they were, until this pandemic. They maintain a vital link between residents and the outside world. They can often persuade them to do things, such as take vital medication or food and drink, when paid carers cannot. And they will make sure residents are getting all the care they need – and notice when something is amiss. Without this, many vulnerable residents of care homes have rapidly gone downhill during the pandemic.
Are you still struggling to access face-to-face care visits with your relative?
If so, please consider getting in touch. As care specialists, Just Caring Legal may be able to help. We liaise with care providers on a daily basis. We talk to them regularly about safeguarding, risk assessments and many other aspects of essential care. Most importantly, after all this time, we understand how much the chance to see your relative face-to-face means to you – and to them. So don’t wait a day longer – call us now and let us see if we can help.