Daughter desperate to see mum 'cautious' on care home visiting measures

Tracey Blazey (right) with her mother Lilian Bradford a few years ago on holiday in Santorini, Greece.

Tracey Blazey (right) with her mother Lilian Bradford a few years ago on holiday in Santorini, Greece. - Credit: Tracey Blazey - Credit: Tracey Blazey

The daughter of a Norwich care home resident says bringing visitors inside is a step in the right direction but she is "cautious" around how such measures will be applied.

Residents will be allowed to hold hands with a regular indoor visitor from March 8 under new easing measures, but will not be asked not to hug or kiss

Visitors will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test before entry and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn.

Tracey, Blazey, 62, of Westacre Drive, Old Catton, is a member of the national action group Rights for Residents which is calling for the government to pass emergency laws to allow one nominated family carer to be able to visit a loved one in care homes, while wearing PPE and having access to lateral flow tests.

She said putting such measures in law would also be better for homes as she felt some homes and authorities "hid" behind the guidelines, resulting in varying visiting protocols.

Her mum  Lilian Bradford, 92, has vascular dementia and lives at Mayflower Court care home in Bowthorpe, who she has seen through a number of garden visits since December 2019.

Ms Blazey said: "It's a mixed feeling. It is a step in the right direction but for the Rights for Residents campaign it's not what we wanted to achieve really. It's difficult to know until the official statement on Monday.

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"I'm cautious. I'm not jumping around and getting ahead of myself.

"The Rights for Residents campaign, that won't stop it will carry on to try and achieve in law rather than in guidance." 

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Outdoor visits - as well as those inside pods or behind screens – will be able to continue, giving residents the chance to see more than just their nominated visitor.

And while more preferable, she said it would be hard to stipulate relatives to be vaccinated before seeing loved ones, when not all staff were vaccinated.

Ms Blazey, who retired as a community learning disability nurse seven years ago, said many had suffered mentally, emotionally and physically in the last 12 months.

The 62-year-old said: " Keeping us out has achieved nothing if it could have been done in the right way.

"People with dementia and those with learning difficulties they do not understand what is going on. People like mum used to have someone see her four to five times a week and getting taken out for coffee and a Sunday lunch to nothing. 

"My mum cannot remember what she had for lunch five minutes ago but if you talk to her about something 30 or 40 years ago you get a spark and you have that conversation."

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