Rights For Residents
A campaign to end the current inhumane restrictions to visiting loved ones in care homes.
News from the Campaign
As reported in the Daily Express on 7th January, the Government’s claim that those living in care will now be able to see all of their family members and friends, is far from true. The Minister for Care, Gillian Keegan, acknowledged that residents are still being forcibly separated from those they love. Writing in the Express, a week earlier, she said “I can’t ignore the fact that some are not able to see loved ones”
In response to her comments, Rights for Residents, the R&RA and John’s Campaign have written to Ms Keegan asking her to meet with a group of supportive MPs and some of the relatives of those directly affected by the visiting restrictions and bans. The letter has been highlighted by the Daily Express and we await her response.
The story of the RFR ambassador Ruthie Henshall clearly resonated with the Minister but as stated in our letter:
“tragically her experience is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of residents continue to be robbed of love, life and joy, not to mention freedom and liberty and desperately need your help. Families were delighted to hear you announce that visits would be unlimited and that those living in care homes would finally get to “see all their family and friends”. Sadly, the longed-for reunions with extended family members will remain a distant dream for many. Some care homes have wasted no
time informing relatives that they will continue to restrict visits in terms of duration and numbers, as it’s their decision to make. Care providers that welcome and value visitors are equally dismayed by the Government guidance and want to see a new approach, more proportionate to the lower risk COVID-19 now poses”.
“As the new Minister for Care, we’re imploring you to take a different approach. Please join us in tearing down the wall that has built up between the Government, families and residents. Relatives are certainly not the enemy or the problem – they deserve to be part of the solution. While it’s too late to help Ruthie’s mum and thousands more who’ve lost their lives after months of isolation, it’s not too late to help those still trapped in this ongoing nightmare”.
As reported in The Guardian 4 January, One of the UK’s biggest care home operators is calling on the government to lift visiting restrictions. “We are depriving people of their right to visitors, which is an absolute outrage,” said Jeremy Richardson, the chief executive of the UK’s third largest care home provider. “The government restrictions at the moment are making it very difficult to give people a quality of life … We run care homes. We do not run prisons.”
Speaking in The Guardian, Jenny Morrison, co-founder of the Rights for Residents campaign group, said: “The impact of loneliness and isolation has far outweighed the impact of Covid in the later part of the pandemic, so are we going to continue with these strict visiting policies? It’s completely disproportionate to what we are facing.”
Care Home Residents
Human Right to a Family Life Denied
It’s now almost two years into the pandemic and despite the vast majority of residents and relatives being vaccinated and boosted, many of those living in care homes are still denied contact with their loved ones.
Some care homes continue to impose blanket policies that limit all residents to 30 or 60 minute visits, by appointment only, every two or three weeks. Others subject residents to visits behind windows and glass screens, contrary to official DHSC advice, causing immense distress and confusion. Some even restrict end of life visits.
We have robust infection control measures, including testing, vaccines and booster jabs, yet the Government, the UK Health and Security Agency and many care home owners continue to view relatives solely as a source of potential infection, ignoring the huge benefits they bring to the well being of their loved ones.
The Government must now ensure that care homes return to pre Covid, unrestricted visiting arrangements, without the need for appointments, limits on time, frequency or the number of visitors. We expect Ministers to limit care home visiting guidance to outbreak management only and continue testing to mitigate risk
On 20th January, Health Secretary Sajid Javid acknowledged that the virus and future variants cannot be eradicated and stressed that “we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we live with flu”. Those living in care settings must be subject to these same freedoms and considerations as they have just as much right as everyone else to live a meaningful life.
Inequality and Discrimination
On 19th July all Covid restrictions were lifted for every citizen living in England. We are now free to manage our own risks as the Government insist we learn to live with the virus.
Despite being the first group to be fully vaccinated, care home residents are denied the same rights.
There are many ways you can help us, though donations and signing the petition. You may also be able to volunteer to help us or sponsor the campagin.