‘How can you love someone through a window?’: New care home visit guidelines slammed

Steve and Lorraine Dorrington. Picture: Ian Burt

Steve and Lorraine Dorrington. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

New guidelines over visits to care homes during the new coronavirus lockdown are “impractical, insensitive and unrealistic”, a Norfolk care home boss has said.

The government has said people in care homes should be allowed to receive visits from their family and friends in a Covid-secure way during lockdown.

But suggestions that people can see loved ones through windows - at a time when temperatures are dropping - have been criticised, with a dementia rights organisation saying they would hesitate to call that a visit.

And Steve Dorrington, who runs care homes in Dereham, Watton and Wells-next-the-Sea, agreed.

He said: “These new guidelines are impractical, insensitive and unrealistic.

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“Families need to be given more consideration. How can you reach out and love someone through a window?

“And how is a person with dementia going to understand why that is happening? They just wouldn’t.”

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Mr Dorrington said visitors testing negative was key to people being able to see their loved ones, rather than the guidelines.

The Department of Health and Social Care issued a press release outlining ways in which care homes can safely allow loved ones to visit residents.

Suggestions included one-on-one meetings in outdoor settings, despite the onset of winter, as well as chatting through a window.

The government said it plans to set out clear principles for how visits are conducted – with arrangements to be adapted from home to home, based on the needs of their residents and taking into consideration factors such as layout and facilities.

The government says social distancing and proper personal protective equipment use will need to be observed

But Julia Jones, from dementia rights organisation John’s Campaign, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think it’s terribly, terribly sad that some people in this country will be pathetically grateful for the chance to go and look at the person they love through a window. I hesitate to call this a ‘visit’.

“When people are in the later stages of dementia, when people love each other, when people are approaching the end of their lives, they need to hold hands - they don’t need to be in a Perspex bubble.”

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