The Bishop for Healthcare has welcomed plans to allow all care home residents to meet one visitor from next month, saying it will bring an end to the “secondary pandemic of loneliness”.
As part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first steps in the cautious easing of lockdown restrictions, all care home residents will be allowed one regular indoor visitor from 8th March.
The scheme will allow a single visitor to hold hands indoors with their relative or contact in a care home and make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe.
Bishop Paul Mason, Lead Bishop for Healthcare at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), welcomed the announcement, saying he was glad the Government had listened to those championing the needs of care home residents.
“The isolation imposed by the lockdowns of the past 11 months has caused a secondary pandemic of loneliness among those in care homes and their relatives unable to visit them,” Bishop Mason told The Catholic Universe. “In August last year, I spoke about the need to acknowledge that the care of relatives cannot be replaced, and that love is a crucial part of care. I am glad to see that the Government has heeded the call for the needs of those living in care homes to be incorporated into their strategy.”
Ben Bano, director of Welcome Me as I Am, which promotes mental health and dementia awareness in parish communities, also welcomed the announcement, noting that it was particularly important for those with dementia.
“For nearly a year the only contact possible for many relatives has been via FaceTime and this does not replace the physical contact which is so important at this difficult time,” he told The Catholic Universe.
“This decision is particularly important for people with dementia who may have forgotten their loved ones during this extended time without contact.”
Every resident will have the opportunity to name one individual, who will be required to have a test beforehand, wear PPE during the visit and avoid close contact.
Picture: Care home residents will be allowed to hold hands indoors with one regular visitor from 8th March, after months of speaking to loved ones online or through closed windows.