Alzheimer's Society responds to new care home visitor guidance

The Government has today (4 November 2020) announced new guidance for care home visitations while national restrictions are in place from Thursday 5 November 2020.

Kate Lee, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said:

'We’re devastated by today’s new care home visitor guidance – it completely misses the point: this attempt to protect people will kill them. Thousands of people with dementia have died during lockdown – by far the highest increase in deaths for any condition - and our support line is inundated with distraught families reporting the damaging side effects of isolation on their loved ones. The prison style screens the government proposes – with people speaking through phones – are frankly ridiculous when you consider someone with advanced dementia can often be bed-bound and struggling to speak. They won’t understand and will be distressed by what’s going on around them. Aside from the naive assumption that care homes have the resource, the space, and time to build these screens. Distraught families will read this news and despair.

'What evidence is this based on? SAGE has declared visits low risk, experts have stated there is no evidence of visits causing transmission. The guidelines completely ignore the vital role of family carers in providing the care for their loved ones with dementia that no one else can.

Eight months have gone by – more and more people are fading away, imprisoned in care homes, without the family and loved ones they live for.

'It’s staggering that instead of a pilot we see further restrictions brought in. We have the tools. How is it possible to test the whole of Liverpool yet not deliver testing and equipment to allow family carers to visit safely? Anything less is unacceptable.'