The daughter of a care home resident with dementia said she is “absolutely terrified” that she will not be able to visit her mother if cases soar at the final stage of the Government’s road map.
Angela McIntyre, who lives in Northampton, takes a three-hour round trip once a week to see her 93-year-old mother, who has Lewy Body dementia and scoliosis and cannot leave her bed.
Mrs McIntyre said she is only allowed one 30-minute visit a week and there is “no point” asking to become her mother’s essential caregiver, which would enable her to continue visiting if the home gets a Covid-19 outbreak.
She told the PA news agency: “The trouble is, the care homes have been so frightened by the Government and what happened initially, they don’t know how to do a proper risk assessment. They’re completely risk-averse and all they can see is that families are going to bring Covid. They don’t think that their carers are going to bring Covid in.
“How can 25 different carers be with my mother, many who are strangers, many who are from agencies, go in and out of her room, go in and out of other people’s room, go home to their children, go to the pub, but I can’t go and sit with my mother for more than half an hour and hold her hand?
“It’s just madness. I sometimes feel I’m just living in a different world.”
Occasionally when she's with me, she just sobs and says ‘I don't want to go on anymore’. It’s very, very hard, and there’s nothing I can do.Angela McIntyre, 60
Mrs McIntyre, 60, said she is terrified that she will not be able to see her mother if cases surge in the local community.
She said there was an outbreak at the home in February where staff and all residents except for her mother caught Covid – none of whom died.
“I don’t think anybody realises what’s going on in care homes and it’s utterly disgraceful,” she said.
“These people are dying. My mother is dying, she’s got no quality of life, what are we protecting her from?”
Her mother has not seen another person’s face in a year and a half because staff and visitors are required to wear face masks.
Ms McIntyre said it would make a “huge difference” for her mother to recognise her and her husband beyond being “just two masked people”.
She added: “Occasionally when she’s with me, she just sobs and says: ‘I don’t want to go on any more.’ It’s very, very hard, and there’s nothing I can do.”
Birgit Clark, from Surrey, said she fears being cut off from her daughter, who has learning disabilities and has been in a care home since she was 10.
She is currently able to take her out for outdoor activities such as visiting the beach and the zoo, but cannot go indoors with her, and every trip must be risk-assessed in advance.
Ms Clark said: “I had to really fight for this, and I don’t know why I should have to fight for something that’s a basic human right for all of us.”
As Step 4 approaches and cases rise, she is worried that if staff or residents contract the virus the care home will “be advised to literally close the doors, and then they’ll have to close the door to me as well”.
She said: “I can completely understand why (the homes) are being so careful, but it’s not fair on the young person.
“My daughter’s 26, she’s very active, she wants to go out, she has behaviour issues and learning difficulties, but that doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t have a quality of life.
“We’ve all been vaccinated and with tests and everything now in place, she should be able to enjoy life.”