The MP for Warrington South, Andy Carter, has called on the Government to be clear with care homes on guidance for visitors.
He said in a House of Commons debate 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 properly care for their loved ones.
Mr Carter raised the case of a constituent called Frank Thompson who has been visiting his wife of 57 years throughout the pandemic:
Mrs Thompson is in residential care in Warrington. Prior to lockdown, Frank visited her every day, from 8 am in the morning until 8 pm in the evening. During the lockdown, he did not get to see her at all.
As restrictions were eased in May and the road map moved forward, everybody in the care home was vaccinated, Mr Thompson was vaccinated and the care staff were vaccinated, and Mr Thompson was allowed to see his wife for 30 minutes once a week.
Commenting further, the MP said:
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.
I want to understand how care homes are interpreting the Governments guidance, as currently, there is a complete lack of empathy for those who have been by their side for many years.
Particularly for those who are suffering from Dementia and loneliness, we need to do more to accommodate their needs, alongside testing and vaccines.
The government has however strengthened the role of the ‘essential care giver’, which means every resident should be able to nominate a friend or family member to provide extra care on their visits. Essential care givers can continue to visit during outbreaks.
The essential care giver role is intended to provide additional support from someone with a unique personal relationship with the resident. They will have access to the same personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supply as care home workers and should be allowed to continue to visit during periods of isolation or where there is an outbreak.
But care home residents would still need to isolate for 14 days following a visit out that would be deemed high risk through a risk assessment or after an overnight stay at hospital.