Please help residents like Jean who need support from an essential family carer
My name is Jenny. My mum Jean lives in a care home and has advanced Alzheimer's Dementia. The lack of contact during the pandemic has left her feeling anxious, lonely and confused. The year of isolation has resulted in a dramatic deterioration in her her physical and mental health and she’s now a shadow of her former self. This is distressing for mum - and her family have spent the last twelve months grieving for someone that's still alive.
The most vulnerable members of our society have been isolated and left to languish, surrounded by feelings of abandonment, having been denied access to their essential family care givers. From children separated from their parents, to young adults and the elderly their distress is unimaginable. The majority of residents are living with conditions that prevent them from understanding what is happening and and this is compounding their distress.
People have died of loneliness and emotional starvation and for those who survived, the resulting trauma will never be erased. The higher levels of social isolation experienced by those in care in the UK should never have been allowed to happen and we must campaign for a change in the law that ensures this will never happen again. We have robust infection control measures to minimise the risk of relatives taking Covid into a care home including; PCR tests, rapid tests, PPE, temperature checks, risk assessments and vaccines that protect residents, staff and relatives alike.
Having now had the vaccine what Jean and thousands of others really need is an injection of compassion, love and humanity that may just save their life. However, Care homes continue to flout Government Guidance - imposing blanket visiting policies - that limits one member of a family to a meaningless 30 minute visit once a week, fortnight or in some cases every three weeks.
Our Rights For Residents Campaign continues to receive huge media and public support and in response, the Government have finally produced new guidelines. Every resident should now have access to one nominated visitor and an essential family care giver that can continue to visit during Covid outbreaks and lock downs. However, many care homes are defying Government instructions with absolutely no consequences. They are refusing vulnerable residents their right to have a loved one designated an essential care giver which is vital to their mental and physical health.
The postcode lottery in which some are allowed visits and others are denied must stop. In order to end this inequality we're calling on the Government to take the following urgent action:
Pass emergency legislation to enshrine the rights of "Essential Family Care Givers" in law.
Mandate the Care Home Visiting Guidance with penalties for those that break the law and deny access.
Remove the inappropriate and distressing time restrictions on visits as 30 minutes is meaningless.
Rights For Residents are representing and supporting families directly affected by this issue. Our work has had a significant impact - changing the minds of the media, politicians and the public. We've built up considerable momentum since we started last September - and we've worked tirelessly to secure extensive media coverage.
We’ve been invited to meetings with Helen Whately (Minister for Care), Sir David Pearson, Liz Kendall (Shadow Minister for care), Jeremy Hunt and many others in positions of influence. As a result of our campaign, the Visiting Guidance was updated on the 2nd December 2020 and again on 8th March 2021 and while the changes are a step in the right direction unless the guidance becomes law the postcode lottery will continue.
WE NEED YOUR HELP TO CONTINUE THE CAMPAIGN
We are working round the clock to ensure this barbaric situation never happens again. Rights For Residents started as a small Face Book Group which we ran in our spare time. However, it quickly escalated into a major grass roots movement and the demands of managing the Campaign have become all consuming.
We’re genuinely grateful to all those who’ve generously gifted their time and money. Your help enables us to work full time on the campaign and we remain passionately committed to making lasting change. Every week we get a step closer. Your support ensures our work can continue until Jean and all those living in care have access to the essential family care giver they urgently need. All funds go directly to meeting the cost of two campaign managers who work relentlessly to make and maintain effective connections within the media, politics and other organisations of influence.
Every single donation counts - large or small as it all adds up!
We can’t thank those that have already donated enough – it helps us to know that you value and appreciate the work being done to help reunite people with their loved ones. Your encouragement has inspired us to continue while struggling to deal with our own distress as we're directly affected by the issue and want desperately to change this for our own mum and all of those living in isolation.
We’re unable to register as a charity or CIC at the moment - as pressure groups involved with political campaigning - don’t meet the criteria for registration. We could become a more generalised support group but we would lose the focus and identity of what we’re trying to achieve.
Once again thank you for supporting our Campaign - we really do appreciate it.
- Louise Houghton
- Sharon Clay
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