Family and friends can visit their loved ones living in care homes from Wednesday 2nd December if the visitors test negative for Covid-19.
Keeping COVID-19 out of care homes is a priority but families and charities like The Alzheimer’s Society say the lack of contact with loved-ones was also damaging to residents’ health, especially if they live with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society and other care charities have been campaigning for months to put a scheme in place to help relatives of people living with dementia and other isolating conditions, such as autism.
Care homes and visitors will both need to continue taking precautions such as wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE) and minimising contact as much as possible.
Anna-Marie Knipe, a specialist Wills and Probate Solicitor for Birchall Blackburn Law, says, “This is positive news. During lockdown I was happy to see how some of the care homes where our clients are resident embraced lockdown. The efforts they were going to, to ensure residents kept in touch with loved ones was wonderful but it’s no substitute for regular visits by a family member who can give an elderly relative individual care, love and familiarity.”
Kate Lee, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said in a previous statement: “Care home visitor restrictions, while intending to prevent the spread of coronavirus, have sadly had cruel and tragic consequences. We’ve heard daily about the grief and despair of families via our Dementia Connect support line. People’s loved ones with dementia have felt bewildered, abandoned and in many tragic cases, faded away from the lack of personalised care, understanding and love that only family members can bring.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock commented: “I know how difficult it has been for people in care homes and their families to be apart for so long. The separation has been painful, but has protected residents and staff from this deadly virus. I’m so pleased we are now able to help reunite families and more safely allow people to have meaningful contact with their loved ones by Christmas.”
For full information about visiting your loved ones in care homes, please visit the official government guidelines page.