The Relatives & Residents Association (R&RA) has accused the government of giving with one hand and taking with the other with its policy of banning care home residents over the age of 65 from visiting relatives and loved ones at Christmas, describing the policy as the “arbitrary and unfair”.
Helen Wildbore, director of the R&RA said :“Only yesterday we were welcoming their commitment of testing for family members/friends to allow meaningful visits in care homes by Christmas. Now, their plans to allow us to form ‘Christmas bubbles’ of up to three households specifically exclude older people in care: “visits out of care homes should only be considered for care home residents of working age”.
“If those living in care didn’t already feel like prisoners in their own homes, Government rules to lock people in over Christmas will be a new low in attempts to control the virus,” the R&RA said.
The group said it was already receiving calls from family members in tears over the new guidance.
“Older people in care have now faced restrictions and isolation over nine months,” the R&RA said.
“This is having a devastating impact on older people’s mental health and their rights. Too many residents have been told during this period that they are not allowed to leave their homes, interfering with their right to liberty (protected by Article 5 of the Human Rights Act). We have already seen these restrictions leading to desperate scenes of families ‘rescuing’ their relatives from care homes and many more families considering a move out of care.
“We urge the Government to rethink this heart-breaking policy. Whilst the rest of the country will be free to celebrate, reconnect and make precious memories, those living in care who have been at the sharp end of coronavirus restrictions, with dire and tragic consequences, cannot be left behind in continued isolation.”