Absence of care home visits having ‘profoundly detrimental effect’
The restrictions on visitors to care homes is leading to increased isolation and loneliness, a joint letter by ADASS, Healthwatch and the Care & Support Alliance has warned.
Writing to the Health Secretary to express ‘several concerns’, the organisations asked for new guidance to be issued as a priority.
Despite care home visits being permitted from July, the organisations claim that the reality for many residents and their families is that visits have continued to be severely restricted with some residents having had no visits since March.
They also warn that the default position advocated by the guidance that there should be a limit of one constant visitor is depriving residents of contact with their wider family and social circle.
Writing in the letter, the authors say: “This restriction in visits to and from friends and family is leading to increased isolation and loneliness, and we are now receiving reports of significant and widespread physical and mental deterioration of residential care residents and grief for families.
“In such cases, not only do many residents grow confused and distressed, but there is an increasing risk that the practical and emotional issues often picked up by relatives will be missed. Indeed, homes that become, in effect, closed institutions are very high risk for abuse and neglect.”
ADASS Immediate Past President, Julie Ogley, said: “Whilst, as a nation, we are facing enormous challenges to minimise the risk of infection and the spread of Covid-19, we must recognise the detrimental impact that not seeing a loved one for a prolonged length of time can have on the individual’s emotional, mental and physical well-being.
“It is pivotal that we strike the right balance between protecting ourselves, people in care, care staff, our families, and our local communities, and the well-being of the individual.”
Read the full open letter and its recommendations at