The government has published new guidance for visiting care homes in England.
A number of charities have described the suggestions, including floor-to-ceiling screens, designated visitor pods and window visits, as impractical. In reality, many carers will still not be able to see their loved one, and even less likely to be able hold their hands, or hug them. It’s hugely disappointing.
Responding to the new guidance, our partner Carers Trust CEO, Gareth Howells, said:
“This new guidance is just the latest example in a long list of repeated government failures to recognise millions of unpaid family carers. When it comes to care homes, unpaid carers know the people they look after better than anyone. They know how their relative with dementia likes their food cut up so they don’t go hungry, and they know what music their disabled child likes to listen to so they don’t feel lonely. It’s essential therefore that unpaid carers are more able to visit the people they love, safely, in care homes. When family carers can’t do this, we know the health and wellbeing of disabled people, older people and carers themselves will continue to suffer.
“What’s more, few people understand better than unpaid carers how important it is to reduce the transmission of Coronavirus. Since the pandemic began carers have played an active role in ensuring that the person they care for is safe and protected.
“More testing would also help unpaid carers, residents and care providers alike to feel confident in managing these risks so families can spend more time together. We were disappointed not to see a stronger emphasis in the guidance for care providers involving unpaid carers as the expert partners in care that they are.
“None of us knows how long we’ll be living alongside this virus. But keeping families and unpaid carers apart can’t be the future for care homes.”