for ,arareallowed Jenny Morrison and Diane Mayhew launched Rights For Residents in September 2020. In response to the cruel and inhumane visiting policies placed on care home residents they mobilised the families of those directly affected into actively campaigning on behalf of their loved ones whose voices can’t be heard. Many care homes continue to deny residents their human right to a family life.
As the Government encourage us to get back to relative normality, care home residents are prevented from enjoying the basic freedoms we have all been granted.
While others can now enjoy socialising at weddings, BBQs, sporting events, theatres, cinemas, concerts and family celebrations etc, care home residents and their families have to plead with care home managers to even sit in their own room together, even when all parties are fully vaccinated. Worse still, when visits are allowed, they are time limited and by appointment only. Imagine how you’d feel if you were subject to such blatant inequality. The double standards are staggering.
Even the most vulnerable living in the community, who have been fully vaccinated, can enjoy endless opportunities to mingle if they so wish. They are free to make their own decisions and manage their own risk, in the knowledge that the level of protection provided by the vaccine is as good as it gets. The same principle must be applied to those living in care settings as there is no risk free solution for any of us. Many are in their last months, days and weeks of life and the quality of life is just as important as the quantity. The risks are now minimal and must be balanced against the huge risks of people giving up the will to live due to loneliness and isolation.
Family members are not “just” visitors, they offer an essential component of care that has been removed during the pandemic. No matter how wonderful care staff are they can not provide the emotional support that can only come from a family member. We are the eyes, ears, voices and memories of our loved ones.
We are calling on the Government to adopt the emergency legislation proposed by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights. This would ensure every resident has the support of at least one Essential Care Giver (family member or friend) who would continue to visit during an outbreak, as stated in their own advisory guidance.
From children separated from their parents, to young adults and the elderly, their distress is unimaginable. The majority of residents are living with conditions that prevent them from understanding what is happening and why. Isolated for months in their own small rooms they have been left feeling confused and abandoned.
OUR CAMPAGN AIMS
We are urging MPs to force the Government to pass emergency legislation that would enshrine the rights of “Essential Family Carers” in law.
Family members offer an essential component of care that it is critical to mental health and well being.
On challenging these extreme visiting policies some families have been asked to move their loved one to another home. These evictions are potentially life threatening. The risks of moving vulnerable residents can lead to transfer trauma, particularly in those living with Dementia, learning disabilities or other conditions where continuity is essential to their care.
What we want the Government to do
The postcode lottery in which some are allowed meaningful visits and others are denied must stop. In order to end this inequality we’re calling on the Government to take the following urgent action before more lives are lost through loneliness and isolation:
- Mandate the Care Home Visiting Guidance with clear penalties for those that refuse to follow it.
- Pass emergency legislation that enshrines the right of an Essential Care Giver in law to provide emotional and well being support, regardless of outbreaks, tier restrictions, lockdowns or future variants.
Our Roles as Campaign Managers
To organise, rally, motivate and challenge others to fight on behalf of those living in care homes to ensure their voices are heard.
To liaise with other interested groups to ensure that efforts and pressure applied have maximum impact. Network, lobby and gain the support of larger charities, organisations, politicians and also the media.
To grow our membership in order to increase the number of grass roots actions that can be taken using our Facebook Group and website’
To support group members in taking individual actions (large and small) that will help achieve our campaign aims and to give them the tools to do this.
To raise sufficient funds for two people, to manage the campaign full-time.