Dementia sufferers in Care Homes must be allowed regular visits from close family

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My mother, Betty Gentle, has dementia and resides in a local nursing home. She is fragile and suffers complex health needs. During the Covid Pandemic, her condition has deteriorated markedly. I believe this to be a result of my visiting rights being removed. 

It is well documented that people suffering with dementia are living with a disability for whom special arrangements can be made under the Equality Act and Human Rights legislation.

If you are supporting someone with a mental health issue such as dementia, where not being present would cause the person distress, then your visit should be facilitated.

Opening a Care Home to ‘essential’ family carers of dementia sufferers is IMPERATIVE during this current pandemic; recognisIng and respondIng to the powerful human need for love and connectedness, particularly in those who cannot substitute virtual for actual visiting or understand the concept of social distancing.

It must be recognised that family members are NOT ‘visitors’,  they play a VITAL role in the health, care and wellbeing of their loved one. Essential family members should be accepted as staff within Care Homes.

Visits can and should, be managed within an infection control framework, just as they are in wider society. A caring and thoughtful approach is not out of the question.

I am very aware that time is of the essence and through not being able to visit Betty regularly,  I am more likely to lose her from the dementia worsening than I am from COVID-19. Both my sister and I have played an active part in Mum’s wellbeing, all the way through her terrible journey with Dementia. I know for sure that the time when she is in need of our presence is now and we have no way of being with her. I can’t imagine how frightened she must feel.

The staff working in the home do not ‘live in’ and have as much chance as a family carer of ‘bringing in the virus’.

Dementia sufferers NEED to see their family or they will simply fade away. Please help us to give them a voice.