Calling all families with a loved one living in a Barchester Home: WE NEED YOU!
Yesterday, Jenny posted a copy of a letter ‘Rights for Residents’ sent to the CEO of Barchester, Pete Calveley. We’ve now received a reply from Dr Calveley which we have attached to this post.
While we appreciate the quick reply, we do not feel that the response adequately addresses our queries and concerns. In focussing on all the positive feedback they say they have received, we also feel the response does not do justice to the heartache and distress that we have heard from many Barchester families in this group that you are suffering.
We understand from many of you that Barchester is limiting face to face contact for ALL residents to one 30 min visit, once per week, irrespective of the individual level of need of residents. We are also hearing that your pleas for ‘Essential Care Giver’ (ECG) status are being refused even if your loved one’s needs are very high. We have heard from many of you that you have been left deeply distraught and distressed by the blanket approach to visiting that Barchester is currently taking.
The letter from Barchester suggests they believe in most cases the criteria for a resident needing a loved one as an Essential Care Giver will not be met because their staff do a brilliant job of “ensuring the care and well-being needs are met on a day-to-day basis”. While we absolutely agree that there are wonderful care staff working tirelessly and heroically every day to care for our loved ones and we are so grateful to them, we cannot agree with this statement. It completely ignores the emotional and mental health needs of residents which very often cannot be fully met by anyone other than close loved ones. It also ignores benefits that only family carers can bring to residents such as access to memories, connection to their past, the ability to bring meaning to their life through closeness, sharing memories and communicating love via touch. In many cases relatives/friends are able to also bring direct and immediate health benefits by lifting their loved one’s mood and by providing motivation to eat, drink and so maintain better levels hydration and nutrition.
Pete Calveley, Barchester CEO, has read the government guidance so is well aware that this absolutely allows for and recognises the unique benefits that close loved ones can bring as ‘Essential Care Givers’. The government guidance clearly states that: “there may also be some situations where it is not the close contact per se, but the presence or company of the visitor that is critical to provide emotional and mental support” and that “the essential care giver arrangements are intended for circumstances where the visitor’s presence or the care they provide is central to the immediate health and wellbeing of the resident. We believe it is unacceptable for Barchester to ignore this aspect of the guidance and to dismiss the importance of family care givers in the way in which they have done in their letter.
Barchester state that “they take their feedback very seriously” – so now is the chance for all Barchester families to give feedback in a format that cannot be ignored.
We would like to collate evidence from any families who feel that the current, blanket visiting policies being applied by Barchester are NOT meeting their loved ones needs. We will present this evidence to Barchester and will share it with our contacts in the media and with policy makers. We will also share it with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and will discuss this at our next meeting with them.
The types of issues we are concerned about are:
– Arbitrary time restrictions for indoor visits (e.g. limiting all visits for all residents to 30 mins)
– Essential Care Giver (ECG) status for relatives being refused with no discussion/consultation on individual needs
– Lack of consultation with individual residents/relatives on risk assessments for visiting needs
– Lack of evidence of individual risk assessments for residents being completed (e.g. home unable to supply an immediate copy of this when requested)
– Arbitrary / overly restrictive rules around visiting in ‘End of Life’ situations
Actions such as these are in breach of current government guidance on care home visiting. The guidance is clear that decisions around visiting should be made on an individual basis taking into account all the risks to a resident and the benefits that ALL the different types of family contact (e.g. designated visitor, and essential care giver visits) may bring.
If you have experienced any of these issues above and feel this means your loved one’s needs are NOT being adequately met, we would like to hear from you. Please email details of your situation to our volunteer team at email@example.com ideally by the evening of Monday 5th April.
We need an outline of the issues you have faced around visiting access and how you feel this is affecting you, your loved one and your family. You don’t need to give your name, or the name of your loved one or the care home, if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. However, if you are happy to share the name of the care home please feel free to do so, as it will help make the evidence more robust.
We will collate all the accounts in one document and use this as evidence of the distress and harm that the current blanket visiting policies used by Barchester are causing to many.
We also know that we have a number of care managers and staff in this group. If any staff working in a Barchester home have concerns about the effects blanket visiting restrictions are having on your residents we would also like to hear from you. As above, you don’t need to give your name or that of the home where you work, if you don’t want to.
Thank you for your help with this. It is only if those of you with loved ones in Barchester homes come forward to take this small action that we can hope to make a difference and to change this situation for the better ASAP.