Care homes: Daughter reunited with mother as visiting reopens
After a vociferous campaign by the Daily Express, restrictions were eased by many providers meaning face-to-face visits could take place. Kay Fossett, 66, from Croydon, south London, broke down when she saw mum Sylvia Newsom, 86. She said: “It’s nice to see one another and just to be able to feel close.” She was able to visit Sylvia, who has Alzheimer’s, regularly after she moved into the home in Sutton, south London. But Covid and subsequent restrictions meant visits were only permitted with a glass screen separating them.
Kay said: “When we had to see each other in the pod, because her hearing isn’t good, she could hardly hear me. It was quite sad.”
Yesterday was also a chance for Kimberley Peaks, 47, to be reunited with her mother Janet, 76, who has dementia, at Coalville Care Home in Leicestershire.
She said: “I can’t tell you how lovely it was to see Mum, to finally be able to hold her hand and be close to her. I’ve got a playlist of her favourite songs, we listened to them together and she lifted her head and smiled at me.
“I haven’t held her hand in 12 months. The isolation has affected her too – she’s thinner, she’s much more sleepy.
“I’m hoping soon we’ll be able to have a cuddle and I can bring my kids in to see their grandma.”
Rebecca Skelton, 49, was reunited with her mum Bernie, 73, who has vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s, at Stainton Lodge Care Centre in Middlesbrough.
Kay finally gets to see mum Sylvia without a glass screen between them
Kathy Barham, 57, saw mum Mavis, 91, in Penkett Lodge Care Home in Wallasey for the first time in 12 months.
She said: “It was amazing to finally see Mum – I’d missed her so much. I brought her over some presents, we sat and held hands and had a laugh together.
“The only sad bit was when I was about to leave. She tried to give me a hug and I had to explain to her that we couldn’t do that, but she just didn’t understand.
“I can’t understate how traumatic this past year has been. Mum’s home has gone above and beyond, we’ve had outdoor visits, garden visits, FaceTime – but none of it’s the real thing.
“I’m used to seeing my mum every weekend, taking her out for tea and cake.”
Kathy meets Mavis for the first time in 12 months
The joy came as Barchester Healthcare, which runs 200 homes with 10,000 residents, wrote to families to tell them they would have to fork out sky-high increases in fees from April 1 to pay for staff wages, utility bills and rent.
The company, which last year made an operating profit of £37.6million, is run by Pete Calveley, 60, whose pay in 2019 stood at £2million.
The company has been unable to confirm how many Covid cases and deaths there had been in its portfolio of homes since the crisis started.
In one letter, seen by this newspaper, Barchester said it was “seeing an increase in our cost base” and blamed the Covid pandemic for higher insurance costs as it told one relative fees would rocket to £1,500 a month.
As the Daily Express revealed yesterday, care homes that fail to open their doors have been threatened with on-the-spot inspections and face being rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission watchdog.
Kimberley and Janet listened to their favourite tunes
Rebecca gets to hold hands with Bernie
Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care, said: “Blanket bans are unacceptable.”
She added: “Where we receive information from the public or through whistleblowing about a provider potentially taking a blanket approach to banning visiting, or if we receive information that indicates a closed culture, we may undertake a risk-based inspection.
“I call on all care providers to seek a personalised approach to supporting contact with loved ones where it is safe to do so.”
A single named visitor is now allowed inside care homes, regardless of whether they or the resident they are visiting has had a Covid jab.
However, access remains at the discretion of individual managers, sparking fears providers will continue to disregard the rights of families and residents.