New COVID restrictions pose an “incremental tragedy” for care homes

The added fourth tier, and its rules, have diminished the hopes of physical contact between care home residents and their relatives in the UK.

All care homes situated in tier four areas have to ban close-contact indoor visits, as of 20 December 2020, and can only allow visits if the resident can remain behind a substantial protection screen, such as a visiting pod or window. This guidance was issued last night by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Chair of the Relatives & Residents Association, Judy Downey, described these regulations as an “incremental tragedy”, as “hopes have been got up so cruelly” in regards to seeing loved ones during this Christmas period.

Although, Downey does acknowledge the potential higher risk of infection in care homes from the new strain of the coronavirus, which has caused fears surrounding the safety of close-contact visits in non-tier four care homes.

Additionally, the alteration of the planned five-day Christmas break, for families to reunite, also sparked a hurry to ensure the implementation of adequate home care and procedures.

Early December, ministers promised that they would make hand-holding and hugs between relatives and residents a possibility in care homes at Christmas by implementing rapid lateral flow testing to visitors.

However, the Prime Minister stated on 19 December that “new strain of the coronavirus appears to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible than the old variant, and could increase the R number by 0.4.”

Downey wanted to also emphasise that for “some families [they] are no longer being recognised.

“Spouses are going in, and the person turns their face away and says: ‘Who is that?’”

Executive Director of the National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, states this change was “deeply distressing for residents and their loved ones”.

At Synergy Complex Care, we specialise in providing care and support for individuals in the comfort of their own homes to the highest standards following all covid-19 guidance and providing our staff with training to use personal protective equipment effectively.

To find out more about our Personalised Care and Support Services, contact us today.

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