Care Organisations Call for End to Isolation

The Relatives & Residents Association has sent a letter on behalf of a coalition of organisations to local health and care leaders, calling on them to end harmful isolation practices and to help promote the rights of people in care. This follows a letter we sent in January. Organisations representing both care providers and residents expressed sadness and disappointment at having to write again about the detrimental impact isolation from family and friends is having on people living in care.

The letter highlights the serious challenges people face in accessing vital support from loved ones during COVID outbreaks. It seeks to address a barrier to visiting many are facing when local health teams impose restrictions beyond those in the Government guidance. The letter calls on local health and care teams to fulfil their legal duties, including respect for the right to family life.

The joint action is an initiative of the charity the Relatives & Residents Association, campaign group Rights for Residents and academic Dr Caroline Emmer De Albuquerque Green of King’s College London.

Director of the Relatives & Residents Association, Helen Wildbore, said:
“Whilst life has gone back to normal for the rest of the country, people living in care have been left behind. Too many are still facing harmful restrictions on their daily lives, all in the name of ‘protection’ and ‘public health’, without recognition of the damage of isolation. Two and half years on and we still haven’t learnt the most basic lesson from this pandemic: without the support of loved ones, people’s mental and physical health suffers greatly. Undervaluing this support is dehumanising not only for the person living in care, but also for their friends and relatives.

Older people are still paying a heavy price for the failings in the early stages of the pandemic as risk-averse approaches have become deeply embedded. Public health teams must urgently step back to see the bigger picture of this public health crisis and comply with their legal duties to protect wider health and wellbeing.”

The letter is available here, with a full list of signatories. The first letter sent in January is available here.

 

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