The care sector was likened to the ‘Wild West’ during evidence given to MPs yesterday.
Charity director at Age UK, Caroline Abrahams (pictured), and director at the Relatives and Residents Association, Helen Wildbore, were among those giving evidence on the impact of COVID restrictions on the human rights of care home residents, the Press Association reported.
Caroline said care homes had become a “rights-free zone for families and residents”, adding: “It’s a Wild West and there are no rights. This has been the most terrible time I think for older people in care homes, partly because so many people died particularly earlier on… but also because of the sort of collateral damage from that, and the consequences of the fear of repeating it, and the isolation of so many people, for who actually seeing the people they love the most is the most important thing in their life, and take that away and there isn’t very often much left.”
Helen Wildbore, director at Relatives and Residents Association, commented: “We know that isolation is having a hugely detrimental impact and it’s not just on well-being – it’s on people’s lives, it’s on their dignity, it’s on their liberty and their autonomy, and care providers tell us that they want to do more to facilitate safe and meaningful contact and they feel that they can do that in a safe way, but they feel shackled by the government’s guidance.
“And how I would describe it is trying to wrap people up in cotton wool, and that’s just simply not possible, it’s not desirable and it’s not lawfu
A spokesperson for the CQC said: “The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on many people and we know it has been particularly difficult for those who are living in care homes and their families and loved ones.
“We also noted in our latest State of Care report that staffing pressures are being felt across all health and care settings, and this continues to be the case as the recent spike in COVID infections puts pressure on the care sector.
“We have taken decisive action throughout the pandemic to help keep people safe in care settings including undertaking almost 10,000 inspections, and making absolutely clear to providers that blanket approaches to visiting are unacceptable and may trigger an inspection. Where concerns have been raised with us in relation to visiting we have taken action in every case, including following up with providers, inspecting, taking regulatory action and where applicable, raising safeguarding alerts with local authorities.
“We continue to seek assurances from care home providers about how they are supporting visiting to happen and we are verifying this information when we go out and inspect and will continue to do so. We have introduced a mandatory question on each of our care home inspections which looks at how visiting is being supported to happen in a safe way.”