Need for clarity as care home lockdowns bite again

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A care campaigner today called on the Government to allow a single, nominated, and tested visitor to be allowed to visit a family member in care and nursing homes.

Care providers are becoming increasingly concerned about the mental wellbeing of their residents as lockdown restrictions continue and become more severe.

The provider organisation the Independent Care Group (ICG) has also called for greater guidance over visiting and questioned where the second round of infection control funding is.

ICG Chair, Mike Padgham, said: “We cannot keep residents in lockdown forever as many have had very little contact for several months now.

“If the visiting restrictions are to go on and become even more severe, we have to find a way to reunite them with their families.

“One way would be to have a nominated family member who could be effectively given carer status and tested. Once the result of the test was known they could then visit their loved one.

“The Government has promised a visiting guide for care and nursing homes, but that has yet to appear.”

There is a growing call to enable visits because of the damage continued separation is causing to the mental wellbeing of residents, particularly those with dementia.

The ICG also says the country needs a clearer message over lockdown, rather than the piecemeal arrangements that are being set up.

Mr Padgham added: “In my view we need some action and some clarity. Are we going to have a full lockdown for a short period to try to nip this in the bud or are we going to continue with the piecemeal geographical lockdowns that I feel are causing more confusion than good?

“If the Government announces a short total lockdown, then that will make it even more vital that we can facilitate a way for our residents to be able to see their loved ones.”

Some weeks ago, the Government announced a second Infection Control Fund of £546m to support care providers in fighting the pandemic, which was welcomed by the ICG. However, the ICG says there has been no indication of when this money will arrive.

“The previous infection control fund runs out today but as yet there is no indication of when the second fund will arrive or any detail on how it can be spent. We need this support urgently as the second wave of coronavirus gathers pace.”

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