Families fight to retain ‘vital’ care home visits

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Jo Main said she felt a lack of social interaction played a large part in her father’s death

Family members who provide wellbeing visits to vulnerable relatives in care homes say it is vital they are allowed to continue their role.

Gloucestershire County Council has recommended that homes should stop accepting visitors, to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

One woman said she felt loneliness played a large part in her father’s death earlier this year.

The council said visits could still go ahead in certain circumstances.

Jo Main described her father John’s death, in a Cheltenham care home in April during the first lockdown, as “horrific” and fears more people will die if they are kept away from their loved ones.

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Helena Hadzihajdic said there was a huge sense of manager responsibility

“He was taken away in a body bag from the care home. We weren’t allowed to see him or dress him at the funeral directors.

“It’s breaking my heart that this is still going on.

“We will never ever know, but I’m positive that my dad didn’t die of Covid, and the same for quite a few other residents, they would have died from a lack of social interaction.”

Essential carer Barbara Piranty said her mother would be “in distress” now that visits to her Cheltenham care home have been stopped.

“My mother literally lost half her body weight [during the last lockdown], she withdrew, by the time I got to see her she was just a shadow of a person,” she said.

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Barbara Piranty said her mother would be “in distress”

The Elms Care Home in Coleford is still allowing family visits under strict Covid-secure measures.

Manager Helena Hadzihajdic said: “There’s a fear and a huge sense of manager responsibility about what’s the best way to do this.”

Gloucestershire County Council’s director of public health, Sarah Scott,
wrote to all care homes last week
with the recommendation, adding that the ultimate decision on visits was down to care home managers.

“Care home visits can still go ahead in certain circumstances such as if the person is at the end of their life,” she added.

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