C&C calls on government to extend 'exceptional circumstances' definition for care home visits
C&C wholeheartedly supports calls made by the National Care Forum (NCF) to ensure that visits to care homes by families and loved ones can be facilitated during the lockdown in England. The refusal to allow our residents to see their loved ones can have a detrimental effect on their mental health.
Julia Ashley, Chief Executive of C&C, said:
"As a minimum, we call on government to extend its definition of ‘exceptional circumstances’, which under Tier 2 and Tier 3 rules, has restricted care home visits to residents who are at the end of their life. Residents with specific health conditions, for example, dementia and deafness, are particularly vulnerable and at more risk of isolation. They risk the impact of not seeing their loved ones for a prolonged period as they find it more difficult to benefit from virtual meetings or phone calls. Vulnerable residents should be prioritised immediately for face to face visits in safe environments so that we can minimise the wider risks to their health.
"While the pandemic is at a critical stage, especially for those over 70 and with serious health conditions, we believe there are safe alternatives to visiting care homes that should be fully considered before Thursday’s lockdown.
"It is our view that visits from one, designated ‘key visitor’ – a close relative or friend of a resident – should be allowed in a safe, secure setting within our care home grounds such as our ‘visitor pods’ that are being installed. This combined with regular ‘key-visitors’ testing would help us to keep people safe and maintain good mental health through the pandemic.
"While we agree that homes should do everything possible to minimise visits inside the home, our specially adapted visitor pods in our gardens are being installed to enable such safe visits to happen."