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Government guidance on 2nd April stated: ‘Family and friends should be advised not to visit care homes, except next of kin in exceptional situations such as end of life’. This guidance has been issued to help protect residents and staff from the spread of the virus. Families will be concerned about the impact of no visits on their relative. Families may be missing the contact and worry that their relative may deteriorate or feel abandoned.
Live Better With (formally Unforgettable) has this very useful guidance for families in this situation:
Here are some ideas and resources for family carers separated from a family member living in a care home in quarantine:
As the pandemic takes hold and the population batons down the hatches for an extended period, it will be important to find a strategy that works for you if you are trying to maintain connection with a relative in a care home. Some care homes will allow visits in exceptional circumstances. Check with the care home management what their policy is and keep the dialogue open, honest and balanced.
This is difficult for everyone. By having to prohibit visits from family carers, care homes have lost a key resource: many family carers are used to spending a lot of time with their relatives, every day or several days per week, carrying out key care responsibilities. Family carers are integral to the care team for a person with dementia. Without the help of family carers, care workers are under added pressure, especially since many are having to self-isolate at home themselves if anyone in their family has symptoms.
Dementia UK provides a helpline operated by Admiral Nurses – 0800 888 6678
Relatives and Residents Association is a national charity that supports, informs and speaks on behalf of older people in care – 020 7359 8136
Dementia UK and the Relatives and Residents Association have partnered to produce some helpful ideas for relatives and friends of people living in care homes: https://www.relres.org/keep-in-touch/