CARE home residents say they feel “trapped” as Covid rules mean they must isolate every time they go outside.
Guidance from the Department of Health states that people living in care homes must self-isolate for two weeks if they leave.
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Sylvia Newsom and her daughter Kay Fossett enjoy a visit following the easing of rules at Gracewell of Sutton care home in South London. Some care home residents say they feel ‘trapped’ due to isolation guidanceCredit: PA
Mike Padgham visits his 93-year-old mother Phyllis Padgham at St Cecilia’s Nursing Home in Scarborough, North YorkshireCredit: PA
This means they have to spend 14 days on their own just to go for a walk or visit a cafe with their families.
The rules still apply even though most elderly people have now received both doses of a Covid vaccine.
Care home residents are also regularly tested for the bug.
The guidance means they will have to self-isolate if they want to vote in person at local elections next month.
Campaigners want the isolation rules dropped – but the Government claims they are needed to “manage the risk of residents returning from visits bringing infection into the care home environment”.
The Department of Health guidance states: “We recognise that in practice, this is likely to mean that many residents will not wish to make a visit out of the home.”
Diane Mayhew from Rights for Residents is campaigning against the rule.
She told the Daily Mail: “People have been cooped up in their care homes for 13 months.
“They have now almost all had two doses of the vaccine, but even as lockdown is lifted they are effectively trapped in solitary confinement.
“‘If relatives want to take loved ones out for a walk on a beautiful spring day, to the park or to get a coffee, they will get punished by 14 days in isolation.
“This means residents are effectively banned from days out that families would really treasure and would uplift their mental health.”
She added that it was “absolutely crazy” that care home staff don’t have to isolate once they leave the premises but residents still have to.
Jenny Morrison, who is also a member of Rights for Residents, told Parliament’s Human Rights Committee: “The Government’s guidance on visiting out of care homes… really is a blatant human rights abuse.
“People are now meeting up in groups of six, in parks, getting their haircuts and going to gyms, including carers.
“And yet our loved ones who have spent 13 months in isolation cannot go out and enjoy a spring afternoon for two hours unless they agree to come back to the care home and isolate on their own for 14 days.”
Care home residents are now able to have two visitors after lockdown rules were eased on Monday.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘We understand contact with family and friends is vital to the health and wellbeing of residents and we are doing everything we can to provide safe opportunities to meet. Guidance on visits out of care homes will be kept under review.’