A campaign to end the isolation of older people in care has been launched by the Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA).
The charity believes the continued isolation of older people in care is putting their human rights at risk and is calling on the government to take urgent action and amend their guidance for the sector.
Launching the #EndIsolationInCare campaign, Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives & Residents Association, (pictured) said: “The Government’s guidance on visiting is not fit for purpose. Care providers need clarity and leadership. They need clear, practical guidance and support from the Government about managing visits whilst COVID-free, and planning for if they develop cases.
“We need to achieve a better balance between protecting people from the virus and protecting their well-being. Care homes are people’s homes. They are places where people should expect a good quality of life, not simply to exist.”
The R&RA is calling for a number of changes to the government guidance that was announced in July.
These include removing the ‘single, constant visitor’ requirement, which the R&RA describes as “inhumane” and “impractical” and that creates “painful decisions” for families.
Other changes include the removal of time limits on visits, making regular testing available for visitors as well as residents and staff, stipulating that staff shouldn’t chaperone visits except in exceptional circumstances, and taking decisions on an individual basis.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We know that limiting visits in care homes has been difficult for many families and residents who want to see their loved ones. Our first priority is to prevent infections in care homes, and this means that visiting policy should still be restricted with alternatives sought wherever possible. Visiting policies should be tailored by the individual care home and should take into account exceptional circumstances – such as end of life.
“Local Directors of Public Health are responsible for the policy on care home visits in their areas and should give a regular professional assessment of whether visiting is likely to be appropriate within the local authority, taking into account the wider risks.”