Gransnet forums


visiting restrictions in care homes

(55 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?

Davida1968 Thu 08-Oct-20 12:58:06

Same problem for me, I'm sorry to say. I'm doing video calls with my very aged relative (not seen in person since Feb) but given dementia isues, these are becoming very difficult to undertake. I just don't know where we should go from here.

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 13:01:59

Surely a room could be set aside for visiting, with full ppe, and temperature checks done on all those who enter?
There has got to be a way of reducing the risk to a minimum, as far as possible.

Magsymoo Thu 08-Oct-20 13:03:09

It is not just older people and people with dementia who are in care homes. The hidden victims of this situation who are never spoken about are people in care homes with Learning difficulties and Autism. My son who has Autism lives in a specialist Autism provision and was locked down earlier this year and I didn't see him for 4 months. After being unlocked for a few weeks he is likely to be locked down again in the next few days. This massively impacts his mental health and mine. He misses his family and the life he had. He is unable to occupy himself positively so is bored and frustrated. I am just heartbroken because I can't tell him when I will see him again.

LauraNorder Thu 08-Oct-20 13:15:27

Hellsgrandad my heart goes out to you and I am so sorry for your loss. What a lovely picture of you and of Pat, a very handsome couple indeed. I’m sure that when you meet again this time will melt away.

LauraNorder Thu 08-Oct-20 13:18:43

Magsymoo I do feel for you and your son but hope you can console yourself With the thought that this will pass and you’ll be able to hug each other again, it’s important that the home are doing everything they can to keep him safe.

Grannynannywanny Thu 08-Oct-20 13:24:41

Magsymoo I was just about to mention young adults in learning disability units who are also separated from their loved ones. This is the situation for my cousin who has Downs and dementia. I can only visit him at the window. He’s unable to have physically distanced garden visits because he has no understanding of the need to distance. He is naturally affectionate and wants lots of hugs during a visit. Most relatives have had to decline garden visits as refusal to hug would be utterly cruel.
It’s very difficult to hold the attention of someone with dementia through a slightly open window while wearing a mask. Even at the window he outstretches his arms for a hug and asks me to come inside and it’s breaking my heart.

Milliemabel Thu 08-Oct-20 13:29:05

It's really inhumane at the moment. I lost my mum in March and Dad is now in a Care home with dementia. I feel as though I have lost both my parents and also feel incredibly guilty I have had to put Dad in a home.
I used to visit to support mum and dad most days until they both broke their hips within 12 hours of each other in Feb. Mum tragically died because of medical negligence and complications. They would have celebrated their diamond anniversary Oct 1st, but the last time they were together was in the back of an ambulance, both distressed and oblivious that Mum was dying, in March.
My heart goes out to others experiencing similar circumstances and tremendous pain that is inevitable in these unprecedented times.

EllanVannin Thu 08-Oct-20 13:30:11

Heartbreaking is all I can say to ALL who are affected. xxflowers

Issy123 Thu 08-Oct-20 13:49:26

My Mum entered a care home in August. She has dementia, failing eyesight and hearing. My garden visits were very difficult as she couldn't hear or see me clearly at 2m distance. These visits have now stopped, but I did pick up an idea from a newspaper that a child's walkie-talkie works quite well in this situation.
Phone calls are very difficult as well. At the suggestion of the carers, I am writing a weekly letter which the carers are willing to read/shout out to her, so that at least I have some communication. Hope these ideas can be of use to others.

Minerva Thu 08-Oct-20 14:06:33

Hellsgrandad I am so sorry. How heartbreaking for you. I think it is very common for the surviving spouse to wish they had realised what was about to happen, done differently, behaved differently, but you had done everything in your power and in the end had no choice and that is a special pain. In the photo your dear wife looks so loved.

Hellsgrandad Thu 08-Oct-20 14:10:37

Many thanks to all of you who have posted messages of encouragement both on the open site and in private messaging. I must clarify that I was allowed to see Pat at the very end of her life but by then she was totally unaware of anything and it in no way compensated for the previous sixteen weeks.
However, it's helped to come on here and speak out........the lovely reaction that I've had has gone a long way towards putting things in perspective and I live in hope that one day she and I will get the opportunity to laugh again.

Gwyneth Thu 08-Oct-20 14:19:18

Hellsgrandad So sorry for your loss. It’s a beautiful picture of you and your wife and I’m sure you have many happy memories of your long time together.

BluePizzaWalking Thu 08-Oct-20 14:19:40

From around 11th March there was no visiting at all at myums care home. They did try a few what's app video calls but mum was ending up in tears during theses so they were very sad for us. They then started sending me some photos and videos of her taking part in activities at the home which was more reassuring. Since the summer we have been able to go to the care home for 15 minutes once a fortnight and wave at my mum through a closed window and try and converse with her via mobile phones put on loudspeaker. Not at all suitable but mum did seem pleased to see us. In September they opened a new visiting room where we enter from off the car park and mum gets taken through a door from inside the care home. There is a big glass window between us but a speaker system so you can hear better and comfy chairs. We are allowed a 15 minute visit for only 2 people every fortnight. So we are working out a family rota so we can all get to see her. It's her birthday later this month and I can send in a birthday cake and presents but I have to take them in a few days beforehand so they can be put in quarantine. I ve managed to book one of these 15 minute visits on her actual birthday, but my brother has to go today.
However she has had a community dermatology appointment come through and the care home want me to take her to that in a taxi! I have discussed it with her GP who has said the risks of not dealing with her skin problem outweigh the risk of me now becoming her carer for a day and taking her to the appointment! It doesn't make sense to me and we have yet to decide as a family what to do about this.

Chrisks Thu 08-Oct-20 14:36:33

Hellsgrandad.....your post made me very sad. Just wanted to send love and a hug to you. You did your very best and that’s all you could do.
My Mother in law went into a care home today after falling and fracturing her ankle. She has to isolate for 14 days, has a follow up hospital appointment and then has to be isolated again for another 14 days. That’s nearly a month in one room and not able to see anyone she knows. Seems very cruel when she’s 92.

amazonia Thu 08-Oct-20 15:53:20

My mother is in a care home after a late diagnosis of motor neurone disease. She is now non-vocal and unable to move. We are allowed one visit per day for 30 minutes in her room as she is end of life. The family goes in when we can but it's hard when only one of us can go at a time. I would love to take my grown up children in all together so that they could chat to her more easily. It's very difficult delivering a 30 minute monologue. I can only assume that she can still hear and understand us.

kwest Thu 08-Oct-20 16:50:35

None of the stuff that happened at the end was within your control. Please look at this calmly and compassionately. When your wife was 'herself' she would never have wanted you to feel this unhappy. You did the best you could with the information available at the time. Please be kind to yourself now.

Cagsy Thu 08-Oct-20 17:40:25

Oh my heart is breaking for you all, I heard some women on the news who were very angry that they couldn't visit with their Mum who now says she wants to die rather than live like this. Can't imagine having to hear that from your Mum.
Life can never be risk free and all sensible measures should be taken but some arrangement must be made to stop this suffering. Wishing some peace to you all and your loved ones - and to those who are caring for them under these very difficult circumstances flowers

Pinkarolina Thu 08-Oct-20 22:12:59

I would like to answer the earlier question about whether staff are checked when they go into a care home

I’m a nurse working in a care home. We can only enter one at a time via the main door. Once in the lobby we sanitise our hands then don a pair of gloves And a mask and take our temperature. We then complete a health questionnaire. If our temperature is above 37..8 or we answer yes to any of the questions we cannot go any further into the building. If all is ok we then make our way to a room set aside for changing where we change into a clean uniform. We have to keep our hair tied back, nails short and unvarnished and not allowed to wear any jewellery except a plain wedding band - all for infection control purposes. We are tested weekly for Covid 19. On top of our uniform we wear PPE which is changed after every encounter with different residents.

Many homes are built with narrow corridors where social distancing is impossible so limiting the number of people to a care home to just those necessary to provide support and care to the residents keeps the risk of infection to a minimum. Many of the staff in the home I work in are in their 60s themselves, so want to keep contacts to a minimum. We Are very mindful of the residents in our care and each other and behave responsibly when not on duty.

It is very upsetting that our residents can’t have visitors at the moment but Covid 19 is very contagious and none of our residents would survive it If they caught it.

MissAdventure Thu 08-Oct-20 22:36:44

Would some of them care, though?
I just can't imagine being kept away from my mum at the end of her life.

Grannynannywanny Thu 08-Oct-20 23:08:38

Pinkarolina it sounds like you and your colleagues are taking every possible precaution to keep your residents safe from covid. Thank you for the great job you are doing ?

Chewbacca Thu 08-Oct-20 23:25:49

My DIL's granny is in a nursing home. She's 94, totally blind and deaf and has advanced dementia. DIL and her mum were unable to visit at all, from 20th March until early September, but since then have been allowed a 20 minutes visit per week whilst granny sits in the conservatory and they sit outside. But granny is blind and so can't see them. And she's deaf and so can't hear them. And they aren't allowed to hug her. It's utterly heartbreaking.

Grannynannywanny Fri 09-Oct-20 00:00:16

Chewbacca that’s so sad for that poor old lady and her family. How are we ever going to get out of this truly awful situation. It feels like we are slipping backwards again with many care homes experiencing outbreaks.
I’m heartbroken visiting my cousin at the window every few days. I know the staff are doing their best under extremely difficult circumstances for all concerned.
I would love to be able to visit him indoors and give him a big hug. But at the same time I feel very apprehensive at the thought of visiting restrictions being eased. I fear that the virus will sweep through the place and more lives will be lost.

SueDonim Fri 09-Oct-20 00:25:00

These posts are heartbreaking. I’m so sorry for your loss, Hellsgrandad. That’s a beautiful photograph. flowers

The restrictions seem horribly cruel. A friend’s Dh is in a dementia unit and she wasn’t able to visit him for months, even though the virus ran almost unchecked through the unit so that he, the majority of the other patients, and almost all of the staff have all had coronavirus.

I’ve never been able to forget one of the stories early on in the pandemic, that of the 13yo boy dying alone in an ICU on London. It’s unbearable. ?

MissAdventure Fri 09-Oct-20 00:28:52

I was just thinking about that lad today, and wondering what his family make of the way this is playing out.

Teacheranne Fri 09-Oct-20 00:49:38

I have signed petitions, written to my MP and my Mums MP, Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock to beg them to sort this out. Living in Greater Manchester we are in extra lockdown again so I cannot visit Mum - I managed two garden visits during the summer. Mum is losing the memory of her family and thinks we have abandoned her to live in a prison, she asks the carers what crime has she committed.

BUT, she tested positive for Covid a couple of months ago, brought into the home by a carer and did indeed become ill with Covid but did recover. Ten other residents also tested positive, along with four members of staff. So although I want to go and visit, I'm not sure if I want to risk the spread of the virus again.

On the other hand, at age 88, with dementia and breast cancer, I do wondervwhatvshe would prefer, this incarceration or visits by her children? She went into the home in April after five weeks in hospital recovering from a fall so has never experienced the full life in the care home with visitors, activities, outings etc.

It really is like being in prison for her.