Coronavirus has taken an enormous toll on care home residents and their families. Many residents have been separated from their loved ones for months and it’s been utterly heart-breaking to hear from local families who have been prevented from visiting partners, parents, and siblings.
This lack of social contact and stimulation has also caused many residents’ mental and physical health to deteriorate, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Of course we need to prevent the spread of coronavirus in care homes but the government can, and should, take action to ensure that relatives are able to visit relatives safely. The current guidance for care homes is not good enough and, in practice, will mean that thousands of families continue to be separated.
For care home residents, contact with loved ones is not just ‘nice to have’, it’s crucial for their physical and mental wellbeing. Family members should be treated as keyworkers – with access to weekly testing and proper PPE – so they can safely start visiting again.