Care Homes update
Update for Irvine Seniors Forum re Care Home visiting Guidelines
I would like to thank Ian & Rosemary for their ongoing support through the Seniors Forum in helping me to raise awareness of the impact of visiting restrictions in care homes during this pandemic.
I have been working with the Care Home Relatives Scotland Facebook group since August this year & we now have a steering group doing a lot of influential work individually & collectively at the National Government & local level to try to promote human rights and get a fairer visiting policy in place.
The group was set up by a few people with relatives in care homes in different parts of Scotland via social media to bring together people who have loved ones in Nursing & Residential Homes since Covid 19 Pandemic, to provide a support forum to share views & experiences with the overall aim of having a higher level of public engagement with local & national policymakers.
Following our group protest at Holyrood on 16th September & increased media coverage, as well as carrying out our own survey, we were offered support from MSP’s & the Cabinet Secretary Jeane Freeman met with us twice via video calls, together with clinical advisors present.
Subsequently, the visiting guidelines have been revised with many of our points taken into consideration, particularly around Essential Visitor status & right to family life/advocacy. There are likely to be ongoing areas of concern and the need for a more consistent approach, however, we are very grateful to the Scottish Government for working with us and appreciate the complexities of the ongoing pandemic response. We also appreciate care home visiting will still need to have ongoing restrictions, however hopefully more balanced and proportionate with better communication. There will be ongoing reviews with government & care home providers, as well as local health & social care teams.
Rosemary and I, are hoping to represent relatives through connecting with North Ayrshire Health & Social care Partnership & linking with East Ayrshire Health & Social Care Director/Public health teams. Current discussions are ongoing. No doubt this will also relate to people with care needs who are isolated at home, particularly if not connected to the internet or other information sources. We need a joined-up approach and positive communication channels in our communities in order to support each other through these difficult times. I am hopeful we will continue to make a difference. Thank you