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visiting restrictions in care homes

(54 Posts)
Clearskies Thu 08-Oct-20 09:17:46

I went with a friend to see her husband in his care home recently. The experience was heart breaking. She could only speak by shouting through a half open window. The 'unintended consequences' of Coronavirus restrictions need to be considered. Anguish and mental health not just illness and physical health.
What are the experiences of others?

dragonfly46 Thu 08-Oct-20 09:19:11

I am allowed to visit my mum. She is brought into the foyer and I have to don apron and gloves after washing my hands. She had her 100th birthday that way.

57VRS Thu 08-Oct-20 10:20:55

I haven’t seen my 95 yr old Mum since the 13th March . Have had video calls with her but she’s very deaf and its so difficult to have a conversation with her . The staff on the whole are very good but they don’t look after her hearing aids very well or check that they are on properly/ switched on or if batteries need replacing. I know they’re very busy but you just come off the video call very frustrated and upset . But after 7 months of this i think we’ve all had enough. Whats the difference between me going in in full ppe to see her and staff who go home every night to family and friends who may pass the virus onto them?? Its absolutely heartbreaking

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 10:26:31

It must be terrible for those who have parents in a home. sad
I used to visit a 98 year old lady as part of my job, and feel awful that I haven't seen her.

She wouldn't remember me, but each time I visited, we became friends again.

I'm sure something could be done so that family could visit.

GB2020 Thu 08-Oct-20 10:28:14

We can visit my mother-in-law just ouitside under a covered porch.They have comfy chairs and a patio heater too!

Hellsgrandad Thu 08-Oct-20 10:31:18

Care homes try very hard to keep this awful virus out but I feel that my grieving process following the death of my wife in June will never end. She had been suffering from Alzheimers for 16 years. For eight years I cared for her at home but when it became inevitable that she went into residential care I promised her that I would never leave her alone. For the seven and a half years that she was in the home I visited every day but my visit on the 15th March was the last one that I was allowed to make. The dementia accommodation was on the top floor of the building and was secure so I was unable to even go and look through a window. She finally died on the 15th June and I have to live with the knowledge that after 58 years of marriage I let her down in her final weeks. I know that people will say that I didn't let her down, but I'll never know whether, with dementia, she could have known that and I doubt whether I'll ever have peace of mind.

Dee63 Thu 08-Oct-20 10:33:12

Im not allowed to visit my mum as im in a lockdown area. Have been for 100 days!! She understands most of the time but I find it so difficult even tho we chat on the phone and do wats app. She comments that so and so is upset because they havent seen their son or daughter. The staff say residents are going downhill mentally and physically. There must be an answer somewhere to yhe distress. Even if I was allowed to visit we are allowed 15 minutes. Hardly time to settle. I know its all about safety for the residents. But actually the care home had a covid case and it was a carer not a relative. Its so sad that those who are in their twilight years have lost what they love the most. Visits from family and friends.

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 10:34:10

I'm so sorry to hear that, hellsgrandad.
I remember quite a while back that your wife had dementia.
I'm very sorry for your loss.

Topcat7 Thu 08-Oct-20 10:35:11

I have not seen my 91 year old mother since February, she is in a care home in Newport and I live in Basingstoke A few weeks I received a photo from my mum's cousin who had received a call from the care home giving him a time to visit. I was furious and immediately contacted the care home who said they had mum's cousin down as next of kin and that is why he had been asked. I made it very clear I was next of kin and was the one who pays the excess bills which they haveno problem in sending to me. My mother is very frail and could quite easily just slip away in her sleep so I may never get to see her. I would add they only had visiting for 2 days and took the residents outside as it was nice weather so no chance if that happening now.

Dee63 Thu 08-Oct-20 10:39:10

So sorry for you Hellsgrandad. You did what you could. You loved her. What else could you do.

polnan Thu 08-Oct-20 10:39:37

One of my neighbours, her dh is in a care home, due to dementia, and it is so distressing for her not to be able to see him.

I don`t understand why visits can`t be arranged wearing the suitable gear? why not? start a campaign someone? speak to MP? or what... this has to change...

nipsmum Thu 08-Oct-20 10:41:41

Oh Hellsgrandad, I'm so sorry you have had to face this. There is little I can say to help. You did your very best for your wife and please try and take some comfort from that. Nothing can make up for your love and care and I am sure in her lucid moments your wife knew and appreciated that so much. My heart goes out to you.

Aepgirl Thu 08-Oct-20 10:44:22

Yes, it is awful, but it's all for the right reasons. Any unwanted germs/viruses spread like wildfire in care homes, so all the residents and staff have to be protected.

Witzend Thu 08-Oct-20 10:45:10

I’ve often been thankful that my mother died before this wretched virus - she was in a care home for nearly 8 years.

OTOH for her last few years she had advanced dementia, no longer recognised any of her family and was incapable of any sort of conversation, ? so I very much doubt that she’d have missed us.

Her care home was purpose built for dementia and I’ve often wondered how on earth any sort of social distancing can possibly be managed with people who are unable to remember any sort of instructions, or to understand why they’re necessary. As for isolating such people in their rooms, I should think I the only way would be to lock them in, which would almost certainly cause a huge amount of distress, or even violent anger.

EllanVannin Thu 08-Oct-20 11:18:17

Are staff checked when they're coming and going ? It's they who are bringing in infections from the outside while going about their normal business with families, shopping etc.

EllanVannin Thu 08-Oct-20 11:20:34

Those homes where staff slept in during the peaks of the virus didn't report one case ! Which means that the virus is being carried in on the workers.

Hellsgrandad Thu 08-Oct-20 11:22:17

Many thanks for the kind messages that have been posted - despite the bad things that are happening at present, there is still a lot of kindness in the world. Pat and I both had a strong Christian faith and I know that, one day, there will be a reunion when I don't expect that any explanations will matter at all.

Gingergirl Thu 08-Oct-20 11:22:56

Hellsgrandad, no you will never know for sure whether your wife was aware that you hadn’t visited for so long (although on balance, given how long she’d needed care, I think she would not have been). You did the best you could and if she was here now and healthy, no doubt she would have thought that too. But this is a burden you will carry for the rest of of your life, as you say, and with respect, you won’t be alone. I think it’s important to speak out in any way you can now. It will not only help you by expressing your anguish but it may help others. It’s time that visiting in care homes became more humane and changes across the board need to be made. It sickens me that so much focus is on young people (when Ive seen a lot of their behaviour surely contributing to transmission) and so little focus is on older people who naturally have less of their life ahead. It is a sad reflection of the general culture in this country. Go well?

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 11:26:36

What a lovely picture.
Pat's jacket is a lovely colour, too. You really do look like soul mates smile

Anrol Thu 08-Oct-20 11:45:12

My heart goes out to you Hellsgrandad.
My mum was in a care home a hundred miles from me as she had become very frail over the past few years. Thankfully brother lived near and visited every day. We went to visit every couple of weeks.
As Covid tightened its grip in the Country and visiting in the care home not permitted, she became more and more unwell. We were allowed to briefly visit, waving at her through a window, but even that was stopped by the care home.
During the week that she started to slip away only one visitor was allowed. My brother visited in full PPE and said all our goodbyes for us as she died. The rest of the family could only stay in our homes full of sorrow & exasperated by this awful situation we had to endure.
That was 6 months ago and I want to rage at the world. All I wanted to do was say goodbye and hold my dear mums hand as she left this life. My Love to all who are suffering.

win Thu 08-Oct-20 11:57:30

What Hellsgrandad and thousands of other carers are experiencing is just awful and really not acceptable. We should be able to visit during the end of life period. The Alzheimer's Society have petitions going on at the moment. The carers come and go back to their normal lives, unpaid carers should be classed as carers and treated the same. They are so much part of the cared for's journey particularly at the end stage. Some people never recover from this and die of a broken heart, soon after their cared for dies. The Covid has not been kind to carers and people living with Dementia are struggling more than ever as they simply cannot understand this strange world we now live in.

GrammarGrandma Thu 08-Oct-20 12:12:34

My older sister is in a nursing home three and a half to four hours' drive away. Until lockdown, we went to see her once a month, sharing the drive. We are both over 70 so couldn't see her for months. She has multiple disabilities, including vascular dementia, since a very serious stroke nearly six years ago, so she can't use the phone or video calls though we did manage a Zoom on her 82nd birthday. Now the rules are one half hour visit once a week by one family member in full PPE. I have done it twice in the last two months and will go again later this month. My husband has to stay in the car and read a book.. We get up at 6am to do the journey twice in a day. It's gruelling day for half an hour, during which, although she knows me, I can't understand anything she says any more. Her voice has completely gone. She had definitely deteriorated sine March and I do hope it's not because of the lack of visits. We have done what we can and I write to her every week, but it's very upsetting.

silverlining48 Thu 08-Oct-20 12:14:39

What a nice photo hellsgrandad. Looks like you are both enjoying a lovely day. Dementia is so cruel.
Pat will have known on some level of your love and care over the many years. You did everything you could and hope given time you will have some peace of mind and can remember happier days. Wishing you peace of mind. flowers

BazingaGranny Thu 08-Oct-20 12:43:03

Hellsgrandad, your photo is fabulous, thank you for sharing it, you both look so happy. You did everything that you possibly could, you have absolutely nothing to reproach yourself for, please do remember that.

I think that this refusal to allow family members to visit care homes is unnecessary in many cases. Most family members can be trained to use PPE just as well as staff. We, in fact, have even more wish to be careful than some staff members. PPE usage can quickly and easily be taught and I’m sure that many family members would happily buy their own PPE if needed.

I might be wrong, but I don’t think that there is a single recorded case of a family member bringing Covid into a home or hospital. ?

Grannynannywanny Thu 08-Oct-20 12:58:03

Hellsgrandad your post is truly heartbreaking. I hope you find peace of mind and can be kind to yourself while you grieve for your lovely wife.
I’m so sorry for your loss ?