The National Care Forum (NCF) has issued a response to the government’s newly introduced guidance for visitors to care homes.
The NFC say that it acknowledges the sentiment expressed in the government press release around visiting guidance under lockdown, but are very concerned about the lack of meaningful guidance, when minute by minute we get closer to national lockdown.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum says:
“It is very important that the Secretary of State and the Care Minister have understood just how vital visiting is to the hundreds of thousands of people who live in care homes, and how heart-breaking it is to be separated from families and friends. In a time of national lockdown it is a positive step that the government has not locked out visitors completely. However, warm words will not escape the fact that these arrangements, without urgent support, will leave many, literally, out in the cold.”
“We call on the government to urgently clarify what these arrangements mean in practice, and as a bare minimum to provide homes with additional financial support to rapidly put the necessary measures in place so that visiting can be a reality for all in care homes during this period. Homes have been provided with less than 12 hours’ notice of the intention for them to be open for visitors, many in areas of the countries where Directors of Public Health have prevented visits happening for many months. In order for this to be a reality, the guidance needs to be practicable, supportive, resourced and facilitate meaningful visits that relatives and residents can gain from, and that care homes can provide. We urge the government to ensure that the detailed guidance is flexible enough to support meaningful visiting, balancing risks without rigid criteria.”
“We also need the government to very clearly outline what the exit position is from this lockdown. There will be some who are able to gain comfort from these changes, but many who will not. Surely as a society we should expect more from the government to bring an end to that suffering and pain. The government must be clear that this is a stepping stone and it must urgently move forward its pilot of designated visitors to ensure that at the end of this lockdown residents and their loved ones are back together again.”