Care Home Policy

There are a number of issues around the management of Care Homes throughout the pandemic that need to be considered by the inquiry. * Hospital release with/without testing * PPE availability for staff at care homes * Testing for staff and residents * Health care staff and others (cleaners, delivery staff etc.) working at multiple care homes * Was there a different approach by management between council run and privately run care homes * The response of the Scottish Government and Care Home owners as the crisis deepened * How lockdown was managed with regard to staff, residents, visitors/family members * Care Home planning for epidemics

Why the contribution is important

Care homes residents have been shown to be the most impacted cohort of the population throughout the pandemic. Errors were made (some admitted) that we need to learn from for the future. All the topics listed above are opportunities to better prepare the sector for the future.

by eh130bu on September 24, 2021 at 10:22AM

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Comments

  • Posted by rosecraig1958 September 24, 2021 at 12:00

    All the above points are very relevant, care homes have taken an inconsistent approach and there are too many variations on how guidelines have been interpreted. Guidelines need to be changed to hard and fast rules, this would mean decisions are taken for the benefit of the residents and relatives and not to accommodate care home management and staff.
  • Posted by meganldwis95 September 24, 2021 at 13:39

    Tbh most of care homes fail in leadership, quality assurance, staffing, care team levels of providing person centred care and basic code of service in hygiene.
  • Posted by Kaygee13 September 24, 2021 at 16:18

    The fact that the loved ones of care home residents were not allowed into care homes for over a year needs investigating. The mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing of care home residents and their families have been adversely affected by this lack of face to face visiting. In addition, care home staff were under extra pressure in looking after care home residents’ needs when no family and friends were allowed into care homes. Loved ones, pre-lockdowns, had previously assisted with certain aspects of care and then were unable to enter care homes to even hold a loved one’s hand. Phone calls, video calls and window visits were simply not enough, especially for residents with mental health issues, dementia, hearing issues and sight issues.
  • Posted by Samlivingston September 24, 2021 at 18:19

    Effectively imprisoning the most vulnerable in society is something I do not believe our society will ever recover from. Guidelines/ recommendations are useless and yet they still get rolled out. Anne's law is what's required, no ifs no buts. This cannot be allowed to happen again!
  • Posted by carolinecarolinemeldrum September 25, 2021 at 11:31

    I am so glad that both my parents had passed away prior to the complete lock down of care homes. I believe that people died not just of COVID but broken hearts, loneliness and abandonment. Had my father still been in his care home then I would have removed him and cared for him at home. Regardless of my own health, career or family responsibilities. I could not have left him without visitors for months on end. Decamping untested / positive tested COVID patients in Scotland into homes caused this situation. No one has ever taken responsibility or apologised for this catastrophic and fatal error.
  • Posted by jmbrown September 26, 2021 at 09:21

    Sending untested/ COVID positive patients from hospital to care homes requires full investigation and responsibility taken for this decision . People must be held accountable for this decision as it caused or contributed to many preventable deaths. Also preventing family and friends seeing their loved ones had a very negative impact on the elderly and their families and friends. Guidelines from government should have been clearer and consistent .
  • Posted by Ahall September 26, 2021 at 17:12

    As a care home resident, I speak from first hand experience. My daughter is not simply a visitor but an essential part of my well being and care. Following the same PPE rules as the members of staff, she could have safely accessed my room throughout the lockdown - this issue must be addressed. The staff would have benefited from the support of relatives as they faced such a difficult situation. The issue of pay and conditions for care staff MUST be addressed as they are totally undervalued and their voice must be heard in this inquiry. I was able to use my phone and iPad to communicate throughout, but for those with dementia it was ghastly. To lock us apart was in-humane.
  • Posted by paulreilly September 26, 2021 at 22:59

    The public must also know on what advice existing, long thought out pandemic preparedness planning was nullified. In this case specifically addressing, although not limiting to, the change from the clearly logical advice of removing infected individuals from care homes to not only not removing them, but literally SEEDING care homes with them. This against a backdrop of Nightingale capacity remaining unused. Since this is an internationally observed pattern, details of who the international advisors/advice were/was is of paramount interest to the Scottish people. Why were Nightingale facilities not used for isolation/best practically available treatment? Why was this advice not rejected?
  • Posted by janecameron September 28, 2021 at 13:01

    The issue of the legality of and reasons for locking-out family requires investigation; family are essential care-givers (they are not just 'visitors'), they offer emotional and practical support to care home residents which is essential to health and well-being. The residents' human right to a family life was denied during lock-down and residents continue to have their rights restricted even in Sept 2021. The issue of the inconsistent following of ScotGovt Guidelines/Recommendations by Care Homes requires investigation. There are so many variations of how these were/weren't followed and the multi-layers of Public Health, Health Over-sight, Care Inspectorate , Infection Prevention & Control Teams meant that interpretation and implementation was varied and different. It also meant that it was difficult or impossible for relatives and friends of care home residents to know and understand the reasoning behind the decision. It also meant that Care Home Managers themselves were not always clear on who/how the decisions were being made and too often the most extreme lock-down measure was taken on the grounds of "keeping residents and staff safe". This was and is the default response with little or no understanding of how testing, PPE and rigorous infection control are the key elements rather than isolating residents in their rooms for MONTHS and locking-out family for MONTHS. The issue of ScotGovt only issuing 'guidance' (rather than law) needs investigating. This caused confusion amongst care homes and communities as to what could/should be implemented and what did or did not seem 'important'. Legally binding instructions would have resulted in a consistent approach and would have provided the necessary context for full and correct adherence to the instructions provided byScotGovt. The issue of why Anne's Law was not implemented earlier requires investigating. The ScotGovt guidelines recommend 'essential visiting during an outbreak" but there are countless examples of where this is not being followed because it is not legally binding Relatives and family human rights continue to be ignored and residents of care homes continue to suffer restrictions which are not applied to the wider community. The issue of COVID Testing in Care Homes requires investigating. Currently LFTs are conducted twice a week, and during one of these testing occasions the PCR test is also taken. Visiting family are required to test EVERY visit which is right and proper. Why are staff not tested every day and why are family restricted on visiting even though they have a more up-to-date testing regime than the Care Home Staff? The issue of discharging hospital patients to care homes without full COVID testing and without at least 2 negative test results requires investigating.
  • Posted by CathieR September 28, 2021 at 23:35

    I believe that both the state and the care homes failed in their duty to enable us to see loved ones in care as soon as PPE was more freely available. To stop people seeing their own husbands, wives, parents and children for more than a year (I got one 30 minute indoor visit in 12 months) was simply barbaric. We were unable to fulfil or duties as Powers of Attorney and our loved ones rights to family life and their rights under equalities legislation were totally disregarded as were the care standards. All this should be reviewed by the Inquiry to stop the same mistakes being made again.
  • Posted by jlaverie September 29, 2021 at 08:05

    What happened in care homes will haunt people for the rest of their lives. Care home residents were treated like prisoners locked away from their loved ones. If carers could go in and out, one essential relative could have also gone in and out with use of basic hygiene etc. We need Anne’s law so this never happens again. We need care homes to be doing the same not all acting with different rules. We need to be able to see our loved ones not kept from them
  • Posted by ilizarov September 29, 2021 at 08:18

    Keeping residents essentially imprisoned with no access/in person contact with anyone other than paid staff is and was disproportionate, discriminatory and down right cruel. This is still happening due to the absence of legislation (which could be brought in literally overnight if political will was there). I endorse all comments previously made so won’t duplicate here. Legislate Anne’s Law now
  • Posted by Seadie1009 September 29, 2021 at 09:04

    The issue of the legality of and reasons for locking-out family requires a full investigation; family are essential care-givers (they are not just 'visitors'), they offer emotional and practical support to care home residents which is essential to health and well-being. The residents' human right to a family life was denied during lock-down and residents continue to have their rights restricted even in Sept 2021. I firmly believe many residents died in care, not from COVID but from isolation and loneliness. ScotGovt Guidelines/Recommendations still keep being rolled out despite government being fully aware that many care homes do not implement these. Some ‘rules’ and restrictive measures made no sense, scientific rationale behind decision making was evidentially lacking and rarely if ever provided. Care Home Managers then left to try and explain rationale to understandably stressed and angry families who were being locked out. Care home management, I.e. privately run home management teams, were allowed to do what they wanted, irrespective of guidance. Alternatives to visiting did not work for many families or residents so you were left with no contact, time we will never get back, for many like our family it’s too late. The issue of ScotGovt only issuing 'guidance' (rather than law) needs investigating. This caused confusion amongst care homes and communities as to what could/should be implemented and what did or did not seem 'important'. Legally binding instructions would have resulted in a consistent approach and would have provided the necessary context for full and correct adherence to the instructions provided byScotGovt. Why Anne's Law was not implemented needs to be investigated, this would have prevented care home residents, staff and loved ones from the never ending torment of the last year. This must never be allowed to happen again. I would not be surprised if we see suicide rates increase in the elderly in this country, people would rather die than go into care where they may be separated at any given point from their families. Discharging hospital patients to care homes without full COVID testing requires full investigation, pretty sure government officials wouldn’t have discharged them into their homes.
  • Posted by Ccusack59 September 29, 2021 at 09:45

    I believe both the government and care homes failed the most vulnerable in care homes. Decisions to clear hospital beds ,lack of PPE and testing and poor infection control procedures made a bad situation a disaster. The bigger issue is it was the old and vulnerable residents who were and still are 18 months on paying the price of the mistakes made by others . They are all in the final years of their life’s and to be isolated from their family for over a year is devastating and no doubt shortened their lives due to destress/ depression/loneliness. I believe depriving them of family contact was and is more about concern about “reporting numbers “ rather than real concern for their overall well being . Even now they are vaccinated , even booster yet a staff member tests positive and they are shut down from their family even after a negative PCR test ,why? This does not apply to anyone else in the country after 1 negative test they are free to do what ever they want , so they continue to deprive care home residents .
  • Posted by Justanswer September 29, 2021 at 10:24

    I believe that Care homes have been happy to keep relatives out as they no longer have to supply the level of care we would spect for our loved ones. It has been barbaric to keep families and loved ones apart for this length of time. Particularly difficult at end of life allowing our loved ones to die without knowing they had not been deserted.
  • Posted by tellusnow September 29, 2021 at 13:36

    Care Homes shut their doors. Shut relatives out without any thought about the impact on dementia sufferers especially who could not understand why their loved ones disappeared Dying alone or with limited time usually when they were unconscious with only one member of their family there. Totally barbaric Lack of leadership & bad management within the home all hidden from the banned relatives. And its still continuing 18 months on. Unacceptable on all levels These vulnerable people need their families now
  • Posted by Ruthrg September 29, 2021 at 18:15

    Residents were isolated from their families through enforced separation and I would like the inquiry to look at this decision which had a knock on effect to the care residents were receiving. The fact that the Care Inspectorate suspended visits and Ombudsman suspended case work created an environment whereby residents were exposed to care concerns and neglect. I would like the enquiry to look at lack of monitoring of staff movements in care homes which would have increased risk of infection including staff behaviours. I would also like the enquiry to look at the fact that GP’s placed too much emphasis on what care home staff were reporting in respect of the health of residents. I would like decisions scrutinised in respect of residents not accessing healthcare and if human rights of people living in care homes was violated.
  • Posted by GillianD September 29, 2021 at 18:49

    A public inquiry investigating the Scottish Government's response to the handling of the pandemic MUST include families of care home residents, both families who have been bereaved due to Covid 19 and also families who currently have loved ones residing in care homes. In the early days of the pandemic last year, many care home residents who tested positive for Covid 19 were treated within the care home rather than be admitted to hospital. This is what happened to my Mum. By not being permitted admission to hospital (despite our many requests), she was denied access to oxygen and a fluid drip which may have saved her life. Instead, she was administered with paracetamol and end of life medication by a GP who wasn't permitted to attend to her in the care home. This, I believe was a violation of her human rights and must be fully investigated and the relevant bodies be held accountable. Locking out families has caused great distress. Families who have loved ones in care homes are not merely 'visitors' but are an integral part of care. Families can help alleviate distress, support and assist their loved one to eat, drink, take medication, encourage them to walk and move around. Families keep an eye on what's going on in the care home and can alert the management to any problems or issues. Families are the 'voice' for those who are suffering from dementia. My Dad suffered greatly by being kept apart from us, his daughters. He wasn't allowed to attend the funeral of his wife of 62 years who died in the same care home. He had Alzheimer's disease at an advanced stage and we weren't allowed a visit to comfort him and help him come to terms with his loss. This was extremely traumatic for us all to cope with. He died several months later and we strongly believe that being kept apart from his family when he needed us most, greatly contributed to his death. Window visits, video and phone calls didn't work. In fact, they added to his confusion. This decision to lock families out must be investigated. It continues to happen and many families still don't have meaningful contact with their loved ones. Guidance isn't good enough. It needs to be enshrined in law - Anne's Law. Hospital discharges into care homes of people who were untested for Covid 19 needs to be investigated and full responsibility taken for the outcome of this decision. The lack of Covid testing for both staff and residents in care homes in the early days of the pandemic needs to be thoroughly investigated. The Scottish Government's preparedness for a pandemic needs to be investigated. Staff working across multiple care homes which may have contributed to the spread of Covid 19 needs to be investigated. Current Covid testing in care homes needs investigation. For staff, LFT tests are currently required to be taken twice a week. Families, however, are required to take a test before every visit. Why are staff not being tested before every shift? This needs to be urgently addressed.
  • Posted by Sadie September 29, 2021 at 20:18

    Locking care home residents away from their families has been the worst experience I have ever had. My loved one has lost so much since April 20- physical and mental deterioration is marked and even as POA I have been powerless to make any difference. We are still making appointments for visiting and this is a real barrier to providing companionship and care that is part of quality of life. Most of society has been allowed a measure of normality but not us. This needs to be addressed now- bring in Anne’s law as an absolute minimum so we never find this happening again -government and care home owners should not be able to separate families for months never mind years
  • Posted by Cjmd24 September 29, 2021 at 21:40

    My mum moved into a care home from hospital in May 2021. The isolation period and very limited contact made the transition very upsetting for us all. We have more regular contact now but there are still far too many barriers and restrictions in place across care homes. Guidance is being ignored and misinterpreted prolonging the distressing situation for residents and family/friends. Everyday I hear about homes being locked down due to positive case/s, I am terrified this will happen in my mums care home. Anne's law needs to be made law now so that no resident feels abandoned again.
  • Posted by law2527 September 29, 2021 at 22:21

    My mum was locked up for 16 months in her care home Who ever thought it was a good idea to do that should hang their heads in shame . My mum had vascular dementia , she was confused , agitated and felt abandoned because of this horrific decision , It nearly finished me off watching through a window not being able to do the most natural thing in the world , hug her , hold her hand and comfort her , and Iam 100% sure that this whole barbaric saga made her health rapidly decline faster than it would normally have done and resulted in mum passing away on 17/7/21. I will NEVER EVER FORGIVE those responsible for making this draconian decision to basically deprive her of EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY SHE LOVED for 16 MONTHS no other section of society had to suffer these barbaric and inhumane rules as badly as care home residents , the most vulnerable members of society who need to see family to survive , they were denied BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS . 16 MONTHS STOLEN FROM US PRECIOUS TIME and now my mum is gone . SHAME ON THE DECISION MAKERS. You never listened to the Dementia experts who were all saying it was WRONG.
  • Posted by AlmaWardrope September 29, 2021 at 22:38

    An inquiry into the management and the running of care homes is essential. It has been a horrific period to have a relative placed in a care home environment. Residents and families have been treated unfairly. To be locked out and watch a loved family member deteriorate in front of your eyes through a window is inhumane. To have to plead at the care home door to be allowed access visits despite having a visitation plan and risk assessment in place and to basically be at the mercy and whim of the member of staff on duty that day because there is no consistent policy applied or they haven't read their email updates is not fair practice. Leadership in the homes has been lacking. Staff turnover has been an issue as has lack of staff on duty and the reliance on agency staff who do not know the residents or the procedures in place. Having only 1 member of staff on duty to deal with whole a unit of residents is dangerous. This happened regularly especially at weekends. Having to book appointments and turning up at the correct time but no member of staff to let you in until 30 minutes later was also something that happened regularly. Being told you can stay as long as you need as part of a care plan but then being asked to leave by a member of staff after only half an hour of a visit was confusing. Rules applied about the wearing of PPE and the administration of LFTs was very inconsistent. Sometimes asked to wear full PPE sometimes not, sometimes asked to wait 30 minutes and at others times only 15. Never understood how you could go to the door and take your relative out in a wheelchair and go to a cafe, garden centre, somebody's house and not have to bother about distancing, PPE or who you met but if you wanted to go visit inside there were so many rules to follow. Isolation on arrival followed by lockdowns time and again in care homes caused loved ones in care to be cut off from family for extended periods at a time when they need family around them most. For residents with hearing issues, having to communicate with relatives through a window which staff wouldn't open due to care home policy was ridiculous and detrimental to the wellbeing of the resident. Shocking and disgraceful - some of the words that i can use to describe what i witnessed this year when visiting my mum in the care home. Never again should any family have to go through such an ordeal.
  • Posted by Vonnypie56 September 29, 2021 at 22:43

    If someone had told me 2 years ago that shortly, within the next 6 months that I wouldn't be allowed to see, touch or hug my mum again for at least 15months, then after that i can put an appointment on for one 30 min visit a week, then after a few months, I can go in a wee bit more regularly, but I still have to make an appointment.. I would have said.. "Ohh don't be so daft, as if that would happen in this day and age.. ".. Well I couldn't have been more wrong.. Who'd have thought?.... I really think scotgov need to be held accountable for the scandal of what happened in care homes..to lock care home residents up and lock the relatives out was shameful, cruel, barbaric and inhuman..I totally understand that Carers, nurses, cleaners, kitchen staff, maintenance etc.. All had to go into the CH to work, I still don't understand how ageny staff and bank staff could go into the CH after being in numerous different places.. And how we seem to be the ones treated like we were lepers, like we were going to pass covid on to our loved ones.. I understand the government wanting to keep them safe, but safe from who?.. It wasn't us who carried it into the CH.. cause we weren't allowed in.. So the act of "keeping them safe" didn't really work.. No common sense was used at all in this whole pandemic, and still isn't, we could and should have been tested the same as carers, we were no more of a risk than them, less probably, as we would NEVER have risked the health of our loved ones.. I and probably most of the relatives are now probably tested more than carers are in a week, yet we are still not allowed the freedom of visiting our loved ones unless we have an appointment.. Scotgov is just passing the buck when setting out guidlines, we need legislation, we need Anne's Law, and we need it now..
  • Posted by AdamsonASL September 29, 2021 at 22:49

    The treatment of care home residents and their families has to be the biggest human rights breach in this country’s history. The restrictions were not proportionate and whilst the government could instruct every other sector to close and reopen, care homes were untouchable. People with dementia left distressed and confused looking at loved ones on screens, through locked windows or head to toe in plastic behind police tape. The trauma of what has happened will last a long long time.
  • Posted by campbellduke September 29, 2021 at 23:25

    I believe that the summary dismissal of ALL Family and Friends from visiting Care Home Residents whilst perhaps initially understandable has grown to be one of the most egregious and outlandish examples of State overreach in the lives of ordinary citizens. At the very least "Anne's Law" needs to be put on the statute books as soon as possible. The toll on the mental/emotional/and indeed physical welfare of Care Home Residents - some of the least able to sustain such sanctions in their lives- is incalculable. It removed the single most vital component of a Care Home Resident's life at their time of greatest need, and put unnecessary additional strain on Care Staff; which in turn has had a massive deleterious effect on Staff health and retention, placing Residents' Lives and Welfare at further increased risk in an ugly vicious circle that needs to be broken urgently. It was an all too simplistic knee jerk reaction that the "System" now seems unable/unwilling to roll back. It has created a Them and Us Scenario and demonised ordinary decent folk who simply wanted to be with their "Loved Ones" and play their Rrightful role. It has led to ingrained high handed reactions and decisions by Private Care Home Providers, reinforced by an unwillingness on the part of Public Health and/or The Care Inspectorate and others to intervene and guarantee the Human Rights of Care Home Residents. Too many innocent folk died - nearly died - or became seriously ill, and Government Reports have already indicated that the measured increase in footfall from relatives should have been viewed as an acceptable risk almost from Day One.
  • Posted by Lor September 30, 2021 at 05:21

    Issues around the management of Care Homes throughout the pandemic that need to be considered by the inquiry; * Why care homes who have a legal “Duty of Care” towards both their staff and residents allowed other professionals and new residents from Hospital/other settings to attend/move in to the care home premises without prior testing prior to discovery of COVID-19 reaching the UK? (The news was regularly reporting what was happening in China, Japan, Italy and Spain from December 2019.. COVID-19 didn’t need a passport it was inevitability going to transmit to the UK) * Did homes bury their heads in the sand or fail to adequately prepare? (Some homes COMPLETELY locked down initially and staff temporarily moved in to some care home premises to protect their residents. Relatives were extremely supportive and grateful of the homes staff and efforts to keep their relatives safe) * Why was there not adequate PPE available for staff at care homes beforehand in preparation/readiness? * What plans/measures were in place in care homes prior to the pandemic and were they adequate and appropriate? Was there any risk assessments or plans prepared beforehand for a potential pandemic? (We have already witnessed other emerging epidemics/coronaviruses previously such as SARS/MERS/Bird Flu) * Why did care homes not source/procure FFP3 masks and other PPE immediately when COVID-19 was first discovered and the news was reporting Covid-19 deaths from December 2019/January 2020 * What dates did homes begin attempts to source PPE to protect their staff and residents and what types of PPE did homes attempt to source? * Dates of when homes managed to source/ secure or were provided with PPE? * Investigate problems maintaining supplies of PPE to care homes (Did homes collaborate timeously/proactively with other providers to actively source PPE to protect residents and staff) * Was PPE sourced by homes of the correct standard/adequate and appropriate to prevent infection between staff and residents at all times? * Details of the dates care home staff began wearing PPE (did any homes implement prior to being directed to) and what types of PPE were worn and by which members of staff? * Details of any staff not required to wear PPE within the buildings at any time? (Communal staff changing rooms, offices, kitchen staff, maintenance teams etc) * Was Testing for staff and residents insisted upon or self sourced by the care homes themselves prior to govt guidelines being issued? * staff movements in care homes also requires investigating. We’re staff rotated through different units within the homes. What impact did this have? Is there an increased risk of Infection/transmission due to this practice? Prior to my parent entering her care home I was advised the home (100 resident capacity) was separated into smaller units (4 x 25 resident capacity)and staff did not move between units. Many evenings when I called to ask for an update on my parent I was advised there was no information as the staff member had been working in another unit and had only recently been allocated to my parents unit. Given the evidence available re the higher risk of COVID-19 infection in larger homes (compared to smaller homes) is this best practice or in the best interests and the safest for the vulnerable residents? * Dates and details of all Health care staff/agency staff/other professionals and other workers (cleaners, delivery staff etc.) who reported COVID-19 symptoms or positive test results to aid in establishing how the infections were introduced to the care homes given the absence of family members/friends. It is imperative to track and trace/to limit the spread of infection and to try to establish the source of infection/transmission particularly from visiting professionals/other workers who may be attending multiple homes over a short period of time and who can aid transmission to multiple care settings. This data should be thoroughly investigated and used to investigate where homes have had an outbreak in order to identify weaknesses in infection control procedures and put robust infection control procedures in place to prevent further transmission going forward. In order to improve, we must identify the failures in preventing to contain these outbreaks ) * Was there a different approach by management between council run and privately run care homes. (If so what were they and did they have any impact on rates of infections/deaths?) * The response of the Scottish Government and Care Home owners as the crisis unfolded. The response was clearly inadequate prior to the crisis deepening. The crisis brutally exposed existing flaws which have existed for many years preceding the pandemic. Poor planning, lack of PPE/lack of training/lack of robust prevention and infection controls. Failure to safeguard and support the most vulnerable and a profound failure to prepare social care and put in place robust pandemic safeguards to protect both staff and residents. * The inadequate/inhumane /ineffective (in many care homes) practice of Lockdown in my personal experience has been badly managed with regard to staff, residents, visitors/family members. Our relatives (and ourselves) have had their human rights repeatedly breached and this practice continues with many homes not following guidance. Anne’s Law requires to be implemented with immediate effect. There appears huge variations on how guidelines have been interpreted by care homes and clear obligations laid out in law are required sooner rather than later The failure to implement Annes Law and the essential visitor status earlier in the pandemic to benefit distraught/ ill / dying residents should also be considered in the enquiry. Residents and family/friends have had our Human Right Breached on countless occasions. Carers have forgotten residents rights to privacy as they barge unannounced into residents bedrooms/bathrooms, no doubt due to a desensitisation and awareness of the individuals right to privacy and dignity. Family visits have been supervised by carers resulting in breaches of privacy for the resident and their family member/friend. We were not trusted to ensure our family members safety yet we had no choice but to trust the staff. Under circumstances such as these there was no “meaningful contact” sat 6 foot away from your relative at the far end of a trestle table. Outdoor facilities provided were not appropriate or adequate for either residents or relatives. I recall one outdoor visit in late September 2020 when the weather was particularly poor. My parent was escorted to a gazebo in the garden on a cold, windy, rainy day wearing only a t-shirt. When I requested the carer fetch mums coat I was scowled at and the carer let out an audible sigh prior to flouncing off to secure another carer to supervise our visit prior to fetching my parent coat. My parent was shivering, cold and complaining. The coat was provided and shortly afterwards there was a gust of wind which sent a pool of water through a tear in the gazebo roof onto my relative sitting in the chair directly below the torn section. Hardly “meaningful contact” for my 20 min a week visit. On other occasions my parent was escorted out and within a few minutes was announcing they needed to visit the bathroom (although my visit was pre—booked there was a failure to consider ensuring my parent did not require to use the bathroom during my once a week 20 min visit.) The failure to consider such basic fundamentals caused friction and anxiety for both staff and relatives. A public inquiry investigating the Scottish Government's response to the handling of the pandemic MUST include families of care home residents There should be prior testing for all prior to entering a care home ( even when only for reviews or other “professional” meetings) as relatives are required to test. Clearly COVID-19 does not care why your are visiting a care home so I ask why do I (nor the visiting professional) not have to undertake a LFD test when I attend my parents bedroom for a review and for an impromptu 20 min visit with my parent after the review? The practice of singling relatives out as the only individuals to require testing prior to admission to the care home was discriminatory. Did The Care Inspectorate suspending visits and the Ombudsman suspending case work create an environment whereby residents were exposed to care concerns and neglect? For further evidence please see the “Adequate is not good enough” report and the care inspectors fortnightly reports to the Scottish Parliament Did removing visiting rights for families increase the risk of harm and neglect to residents? Many issues are picked up early by families providing care homes the opportunity to identify failings and improve before conditions deteriorate further. Families have an essential safeguarding role within care homes and many have POA’s who have been prevented from being able to fulfil their Fiduciary duties as Powers of Attorney. Many care homes have failed in leadership, quality assurance, staffing, care team levels and of providing person centred care and basic hygiene routines. There has been reports of Neglect, safeguarding issues, unexplained injuries, and wholly appropriate care concerns. My own parents personal hygiene routine has not been maintained and they have now suffered multiple UTI’s since being in care. My parent was openly complaining she was not receiving her daily shower and felt dirty during every call and visit. They were distressed and agitated. I have enquired about numerous bruises and the last enquiry in July regarded a significant bruise to the side of my parents head and temple. No staff or management could answer how this had occurred. Most worryingly was the fact that my parent was not checked over by a GP until 3 days after this significant head injury. I reported this injury to the safeguarding team and am still awaiting a satisfactory response. Our loved ones rights to family life and their rights under equalities legislation were totally disregarded as were the care standards. Phone calls, video calls and window visits were simply not enough, especially for residents with mental health issues, dementia, hearing issues and sight issues. There were so many Barriers, closed windows, no phones or iPads available, no internet, communication devices being switched off, privacy screens constantly being left on or devices positioned to point the screen at the ceiling/roof, television volume being left on high (my parent has no hearing issues) so my parent and I could not see or hear one another during our contact. I can assure you that my parents and my own mental health has suffered immensely. My parent was openly and repeatedly communicating her feelings of loneliness and abandonment over a period of months and I could do nothing to help her. My parent is now held under the MH act in an NHS locked mental health until after suffering yet another UTI which caused a delirium. It has devastated me to watch my parent suffering and I wish had ever moved my parent into a care home. I am watching my parent losing the will to live Relatives should have been provided with the same PPE rules as members of staff, testing, PPE provision and rigorous infection control are the key elements rather than isolating residents in their rooms and locking-out family. My parent had a child safety gate erected in her bedroom doorway on entering her care home throughout the quarantine period and spent her quarantine in a strange environment with strange people imprisoned in her room. Her dementia prevented her from being able to open the safety gate. The legality of and reasons for locking-out family requires detailed investigation The residents' and family members human right to a family life was denied during lock-down and this continues. These are fundamental Human rights violations as family are an essential part of residents well being and care. These are our most vulnerable individuals and they require you to stand up for them and provide meaningful contact throughout (which for many will only be days/weeks or months) All of this should be reviewed by the Inquiry to stop the same mistakes being made again.
  • Posted by NCD1986 September 30, 2021 at 07:00

    Why were care home residents never given the same right to create bubbles like those who live in the community? They were discriminated against because of their place of residence at a time when having just one person allowed to visit the same as staff entering the building would have helped their mental wellbeing. Many residents were unable to use technology to communicate and rely on that in person contact and alot rely on sensory communication. For this still to be happening 19months later is absurd. Timed visits should be banned, once a person is in the building the length of time they are there doesn’t make them any more infectious. Care home residents were denied the right to go to hospital if they contracted Covid, again discrimination because of their place of residence. Care home residents were never given the same freedoms as those living in the community yet were and are the first to be locked down. Why is it OK for staff to come and go (quite rightly as is their place of work) and spend time with family and socialise but residents are not allowed to see their family and families are locked out. You cannot say that families are the risk factor when they have been locked our for so long yet covid gets in. Families are not unnecessary footfall and should never have been looked at as such. My mum is dying of dementia in a care home and has been kept away from her family at a time when we should be making memories. No-one is working so hard to protect her from the disease that is killing her each day yet she survived Covid , she will not survive dementia.
  • Posted by RoslynScott September 30, 2021 at 10:31

    I would agree with all the other comments above but would also like to highlight the inconsistencies applied to care home residents in comparison to other members of society as well as the inconsistencies between staff and relatives within care homes. How can it be that nightclubs can be open, festivals can run and football stadiums are open while families still don't have free access to see their loved ones in care homes? It is barbaric and wrong. This remains an issue here and now TODAY with care homes continuing to put restrictions on visiting in terms of appointment availability, length of visits and inconsistent application of logistics (PPE, escorts etc) when visiting. As an example, my 8 year old son is still unable to visit his great granny as he "hasn't been vaccinated", yet a staff member was witnessed visiting the same site with her new baby last week. Relatives visiting care homes are treated like lepers whilst staff can routinely be seen congregating with no social distancing between them and freely divulged information about breaking restriction rules around social contact during the height of lockdowns. At the height of lockdown when we were only able to see my gran via Zoom on the ipad, a domestic assistant was seen to hug my gran and make to kiss her. How can this be considered acceptable while family members were in complete despair at being unable to access their loved ones and longed to be able to touch them in this way? Families would do everything in their power to keep their loved ones safe and should therefore be considered far less of a risk to care home residents than the staff. I also think it is worth mentioning that almost every relative I have spoken with wholeheartedly agreed with the initial lockdown in care homes, when knowledge about the virus and how it was transmitted was very low and PPE was in short supply. Unbelievably this was the same period when patients were being transferred from hospitals without testing with such catastrophic outcomes. It is the endless and unnecessary prolongment of the restrictions which is unfathomable and a clear infringement of human rights. The handling of care homes during this crisis will forever be remwmberes as a national shame. Criminal charges should be considered for those in power who made the decisions which caused unnecessary death and suffering to so many residents and families. Anne's Law must be implemented to ensure this can never be repeated.
  • Posted by Ladymelchet September 30, 2021 at 11:27

    I would be broadly in agreement with the areas to be considered by the enquiry. However I would like a particular emphasis on how access to our parents/spouses was managed by care homes/Scottish Government and is still being managed. The humiliation being treated as a "virus risk" and sitting socially distanced from your parent with a carer present to watch that you did not touch them during the visit was immense and further increased when the parent needed reassurance of the carer coming forward to get close and touch to give such reassurance. A family's role in looking after and advocating for their vulnerable kin in the last stage of their lives has been usurped by care homes and the Scottish Government. The relationship between a child and their parent whatever age is a fundamental one and not being able to fulfil that relationship as a daughter has been devastating.
  • Posted by ElizabethMorton September 30, 2021 at 11:54

    The Inquiry must investigate why loved ones were kept apart from the most vunerable members of their families during the pandemic. As a next of kin, I was unable to fulfil any form of emotional, welfare or caring responsibilities to my mother suffering from dementia who was discharged from hospital into full time care during the lockdown. She wasn't afforded the basic human right to have me alongside her reassuring her as to what was and why it was happening. It took 376 days until I held her hand. That right for contact with her family at such a key moment in her life so cruelly taken away from her by the State and authorities. All this should be reviewed by the Inquiry. Even now, many months on, I am currently stopped from seeing her in her care home due to one member of staff testing positive. So for her and for us, whilst her memory hangs by a thread, it doesn't appear as if anyone is or has been listening and again she is denied meaningful, loving contact with her family.
  • Posted by Family September 30, 2021 at 12:34

    The Inquiry must investigate why loved ones were kept apart from their family during the pandemic and why this is still under restriction. We are told this was to keep them 'safe' but it is surely the correct use of PPE and Infection control which keeps them safe? Close family members are not 'visitors' - they are essential care givers in the same way that care home staff are and close family should have been enabled to continue to provide vital support. My mother is bed-bound and partially deaf and blind in a care Home. Dad has advanced vascular dementia in a care Home. The ongoing restrictions to visiting are cruel, barbaric and discriminatory - no other section of society has such restrictions applied to them - why should elderly care home residents? Keeping them 'safe' is down to correct infection control procedures NOT the denial of human rights and family life.
  • Posted by Janewarrington September 30, 2021 at 15:48

    We need Anne's law to be passed I don't want anyone else to feel like we did my beloved sister was in a care home we didn't see her for nearly 4 months window visits were a joke when your loved ones only communication was touch only seen her because she had a suspected stroke and was taken to hospital I was allowed in to see her at the time she was fine looked ok was able to hold her hand and reassure her we were still here she was sent back to her care home the next day 3 months later she was at end of life we were allowed in to say our goodbyes for her 2 sons who hadn't been able to hold there mum until end of life was horrendous and should never happen to anyone she passed on her own with none of her loving family with her this can't and shouldn't ever have been allowed it was barbaric and cruel for her and her family nearly a year later we are still suffering her loss and especially her 20 year old son who now has mental health issues lessons need to be learned from this
  • Posted by triton September 30, 2021 at 16:53

    In March when you issued guidelines to the care homes I saw my mum in March five months later she was a shell and devastated that I had abandoned her and was crying her eyes out and we’re still here 18 months later with no Anne’s Law in place because you don’t want it. Why have you been fobbing us off for so long we could have visited from day one with correct ppe and hygiene rules applied .
  • Posted by triton September 30, 2021 at 17:04

    In March when you issued guidelines to the care homes I saw my mum in March five months later she was a shell and devastated that I had abandoned her and was crying her eyes out and we’re still here 18 months later with no Anne’s Law in place because you don’t want it. Why have you been fobbing us off for so long we could have visited from day one with correct ppe and hygiene rules applied .
  • Posted by Vonnypie56 September 30, 2021 at 19:41

    Hi, I would like the enquiry to look at the decision to stop me seeing my mum and my father in law during this pandemic, and for stealing over a full year of my mums limited time on this earth away from me and my family, and for also stealing the last 9 and a half months of my father in laws life, the memories that have been stolen away from us can never ever be replaced... I know the decision for government must have been hard, but to be completely honest, I really don't think common sense was used at all in their decision making, it was soo simple... Carers cleaners, nurses, kitchen staff, maintenence etc.. Had to go into the care homes to work. They were issued with PPE and tested when it was available, we, the relatives of Care Home residents, weren't given that opportunity, we would have never risked passing on covid to OUR Loved ones.. We should have been allowed in... Keeping us out didn't stop covid getting in, but it did stop our loved ones feeling loved.. Family is everything to care home residents, it's their only connection with their real life..no one else can reminisce with them, as much as care home staff have been amazing they are not family.. And shouldn't ever have to feel that they are.. You can not replace the love of family, and to be denied feeling that love for so long is cruel and barbaric, it's scandelous the treatment they have had to endure... Most people in care homes are on their last journey in life, surely it's common sense that they'd want to spend it with family they are human beings, with feelings and emotions, you can't just lock them up from everything they know and love.. People dying.. Including my father in law, and family forever wondering if they knew they were loved...most people would rather live than just exist.. And that's what's happened to most of them who have survived.. They existed... This is the cruelest, most inhuman treatment I can ever remember, they were locked up, key threw away, without thought or pity or any compassion... And we.. The Forgotten Families.. we're just expected to accept it and move on... I'm sorry.. But love isn't like that.. You don't forget and walk away, which is how I feel our loved ones have been treated..we need Anne's Law now, not tomorrow or next week or next month.. We need it while our loved ones are still here.... Tomorrow is not always given.
  • Posted by lindaaforbes September 30, 2021 at 20:10

    The first thing to be addressed in this inquiry is an admission by the Scottish Government that they are responsible for all the failures that have occurred. When they chose to send Covid positive hospital patients into care homes they caused the deaths of hundreds of elderly residents. The policy then of closing all care homes to visitors has been the biggest abuse of human rights and to say it is to keep the residents "safe" beggars belief. Our family would have followed any guidelines to keep our precious Mum safe but we were not given that option. The legality of and reasons for locking-out family requires detailed investigation To subject the frailest and most vulnerable to 18 months of isolation , denying real interaction with those who love and know them best is beyond cruel. Our loved ones deteriorated rapidly due to feelings of abandonment and lack of understanding as to why their families had turned their backs on them. Answers also need to be given as to why the advice to lessen restrictions was only guidance allowing each home to make their own rules creating a huge disparity in what residents and families were "allowed" to do . How can it be that nightclubs can be open, festivals can run and football stadiums are open while families still don't have free access to see their loved ones in care homes? It is barbaric and wrong. This still remains an issue with care homes continuing to put restrictions on visiting in terms of appointment availability, length of visits and inconsistent application of logistics (PPE, escorts etc) when visiting. The Government talks of listening to our concerns but given the way they are delaying Anne's Law they prove yet again that our family members mean nothing to them and they don't care. The mental health of our loved ones has been ignored and the blood of our elderly and frail is literally on their hands .
  • Posted by darnott September 30, 2021 at 20:18

    The above contributions highlight the pain and trauma experienced by residents, and their loved ones, during the extended lockdowns in care homes across Scotland. Somehow along the way the government, public health bodies and care home managers/owners failed to take account of the emotional and physical and human needs of the very people they purported to look after. They were so intent in proving that they were keeping residents safe that they have actually caused so much harm and damage to their well-being. Their decisions were , and continue , to be disproportionate to the risks of allowing families to be with their loved ones with a range of infection prevention measures in place. The major fault seemed to be when the range if authorities decided to adopt the position that families were seen simply as a risk or problem and should be written out of the narrative, and that residents should have no voice or rights. The government must take responsibility for allowing this barbaric and unnecessary treatment of a vulnerable section of society. Change must come soon before it’s too late for an even greater number of residents and their loved ones.
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