The return of visiting in care homes this week is a welcome step as the nation eases out of lockdown. Vic Rayner, Chief Executive of the National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit care providers said:
“It is wonderful news that visiting in care homes has returned, and it has been fantastic to hear from National Care Forum members across the country who have been delighted to welcome back regular visitors, and are introducing the new essential caregiver role. With Mothering Sunday this weekend, we know that many homes will be working hard now to prepare for extra special visits to reunite mothers with their loved ones.
“However, it is important to recognise that whilst the guidance has positively changed to embrace visiting as part of the ‘irreversible’ roadmap out of the pandemic, the funding that is supporting visiting comes to an end on the 31st March.”
Emergency funding to the care sector has been an essential lifeline, enabling care providers to meet the extensive government policy requirements in how they operate and to manage safe visits in care homes. Following the Chancellor’s announcement last week outlining the government’s budget to restart the economy, there was a deafening silence when it came to social care. The Chancellor’s address to parliament lacked specific measures for social care despite the impending end of the emergency funding.
“We call on the government to immediately confirm the continuation of the funding that is essential to support the testing and infection control requirements that underpin the ability for homes to offer visiting. This will enable families and providers to work together as true partners in care to ensure that the wonderful memories made this precious mothering Sunday do not quickly fade away as the end of the fiscal year draws near. Having reached this point, after many months of campaigning, of the government enabling visiting in care homes, we must not then face a cliff edge where this cannot be sustained.”