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Covid lockdown UK: Care homes defy new guidance allowing indoor visits

Families are terrified they will not be allowed to see their ill and dying relatives in care homes on what could be their last Mother’s Day together.

Campaigners say it has become a postcode lottery as to whether they are allowed to visit their loved ones in care homes. 

Residents have been allowed one regular visitor – who have been able to hold hands with their relative since Monday.

Jane Smith, 65, was left furious when told that her mother Rita Hookway’s care home is only allowing two visitor slots for all residents on the special day. ‘I feel totally gutted,’ she said. She says that her mother’s mental state has dramatically deteriorated during lockdown

But many people fear that they will miss seeing their mothers on what could be their last Mother’s Day on Sunday.

Jane Smith, 65, was left furious when told that her mother Rita Hookway’s care home is only allowing two visitor slots for all residents on the special day.

‘I feel totally gutted,’ she said.

‘It could be mum’s last Mother’s Day.

‘We have always celebrated Mother’s Day – and ideally face-to-face.

‘I remember years ago driving miles to see her.

‘When we were little we used to pick wildflowers for mum, and she would be so delighted.

‘I wanted to give her some flowers this Mother’s Day, but it looks like I won’t be allowed in.’

Before the first lockdown, the pair loved watching the detective show NCIS together. Now Rita (above) spends most of her time with her eyes closed, and often is left crying when she hears her on the phone

Before the first lockdown, the pair loved watching the detective show NCIS together. Now Rita (above) spends most of her time with her eyes closed, and often is left crying when she hears her on the phone 

Rita, 94, has been classed as ‘end of life’ due an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which could burst and kill her at any moment.

She also suffers from dementia, and her daughter says Rita’s mental state has dramatically deteriorated during lockdown.

Government guidance says that ‘visits in exceptional circumstances such as end of life should continue in all circumstances’.

However Ms Smith has still been told she can only see her mum for one hour a week.

‘I got to see her on Monday and that was absolutely amazing,’ she explained.

‘She responded to me, she smiled and laughed.

‘It was wonderful.

‘I said I wanted to come in every day – as we had a lot of catching up to do.

‘Myself and my sister want our Mum to recognise us before she dies.

‘However they are still only offering one hour a week.’

And Ms Smith says her request for a Mother’s Day visit at Rita’s home – Windmill House, in Old Down, Gloucestershire – was initially turned down.

‘Mother’s Day is special,’ the retired NHS pharmacist said.

‘We weren’t allowed in at Christmas, and this could be Mum’s last Mother’s Day.’

She says the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental impact on Rita’s physical and mental health.

Before the first lockdown, the pair loved watching the detective show NCIS together.

Now she spends most of her time with her eyes closed, and often is left crying when she hears her on the phone. 

Ms Smith says her request for a Mother's Day visit at Rita's home - Windmill House, in Old Down, Gloucestershire - was initially turned down

Ms Smith says her request for a Mother’s Day visit at Rita’s home – Windmill House, in Old Down, Gloucestershire – was initially turned down

‘Mum’s carers have been absolutely amazing,’ she added.

‘They are doing a great job in really tough circumstances.

‘But I think the home could accommodate more visits safely.’

Ms Smith and fellow campaigner Amanda Hunter have set up a group called Unlock Care Homes – campaigning for more visits.

Amanda has been struggling to get enough access to her mum Ann Hunter, 84, who is housed in a care home in Cheshire.

While she has been granted a Mother’s Day visit, she says the group has heard from many other families who will miss what could be their loved ones’ last special day.

‘Lots of homes are saying no visits on Mother’s Day,’ Amanda explained.

‘It’s absolutely outrageous.

‘We have no rights to see our families any more.

‘When someone goes into a care home their average life span is 15 months.

‘After 12 months in lockdown, this will be the last Mother’s Day for many.

‘We have had lots of people get in touch with Unlock Care Homes telling us they cannot see their relatives this Sunday.

‘Some care homes have gone out of their way to make Mother’s Day special – by facilitating visits through testing – so it is possible.’

Len Collacott, managing director at Windmill Care, which runs Rita’s care home Windmill House, said he couldn’t comment on personal situations.

He explained: ‘Windmill House is currently in an ‘outbreak situation’.

‘This is defined by Public Health England and we fall into their category.

‘We will remain in this formal state until 28 days have elapsed since our latest positive test.

‘If all goes well we will be out of this category on 22 March at which point we will be pleased to welcome visitors.

‘Until then under PHE rules we are unable to allow visits.

‘Much to our disappointment, and more importantly to the disappointment of our residents, their families and friends, that means that we will be unable to facilitate visits for Mother’s Day.

‘We do, however, make special dispensations for any residents who are deemed to be ‘end of life’.’

After being contacted for comment, Ms Smith said Windmill House arranged a Mother’s Day visit.

'We weren't allowed in at Christmas, and this could be Mum's last Mother's Day.' She says the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental impact on Rita's physical and mental health. The pair are pictured together above

‘We weren’t allowed in at Christmas, and this could be Mum’s last Mother’s Day.’ She says the pandemic has had a hugely detrimental impact on Rita’s physical and mental health. The pair are pictured together above


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