MP for Warrington South Andy Carter has called on the Social Care Minister Helen Whateley to improve the guidance surrounding visits to care homes.
He said in a Westminster Hall debate this week that one of the most challenging outcomes of trying to protect vulnerable elderly members of our community has been how families have not been able to visit their loved ones.
Updated guidance released last week attempts to address some of these concerns, which includes the following permissions:
- visits using COVID-secure visiting areas/pods with floor to ceiling screens and windows where the visitor and resident enter through different entrances, are separated by screens and visitors do not need to enter or pass through the care home
- visits at windows, where the visitor doesn’t need to come inside the care home or where the visitor remains in their car, and the resident is socially distanced
- outdoor visits with one other person – visitors can meet outside with a loved one, in areas which can be accessed without anyone going through a shared building
- further support for virtual visits, encouraging the use of video calls
But the MP has said we need to bring an increased element of humanity and empathy to the guidance, particularly for those suffering from Dementia where research shows that a lack of social contact can progress the disease more quickly due to reduced cognitive and communication skills.
Family and friends play such a critical role in the care of many people, interpreting their needs and providing personal care in some of the most difficult circumstances.
We need to bring an increased element of humanity and empathy to this guidance, particularly for those suffering from Dementia where research shows that a lack of social contact can progress the disease more quickly due to reduced cognitive and communication skills.
I'm therefore calling on the Social Care Minister to look introduce more rapid testing for visitors, so that we can strike the right balance between protecting people lives, as well as their mental health.
This comes as community asymptomatic testing as been launched in Warrington, with a batch of 10,000 antigen lateral flow devices being sent to the local public health teams each week to enable them to start testing priority groups across the town.