Sage Advocacy has welcomed early indications that the Government has responded positively to its campaign to ensure that the rights of nursing home residents to see and enjoy visits with their loved ones, when and wherever they choose, are respected, particularly this Christmas.
The national organisation, which provides a support and advocacy service for vulnerable adults, older people and healthcare patients, said residents and their loved ones have spent many months apart because of Covid-19 restrictions and they have repeatedly told Sage Advocacy that Christmas could prove to be a breaking point for them.
Sarah Lennon, Executive Director, Sage Advocacy said: “We are all acutely aware of the risk of Covid-19 and the first priority must always be to safeguard the health and well being of both residents and the staff who care for them.
“But we have also urged Government and regulators that there must be balances to this approach because of the risks that social isolation can bring. We know from our work with families and residents that they have suffered because of the impact of Covid-19 on their lives. When older or more vulnerable people are physically separated from their family, friends and loved ones and unable to see them it can have a big impact on their well being and their mental health.”
As the countdown begins to Christmas Day members of Sage Advocacy’s Nursing Home Residents - Family Forum have told Sage Advocacy they are “dreading Christmas if visits are not allowed”.
Ms Lennon said: “We believe the Government and its advisers recognise that the bond between nursing home residents and their loved ones cannot be allowed to be broken because of the threat of Covid-19.
“We expect to see new measures put in place that will facilitate nursing home residents to be able to engage more meaningfully with their families and we would encourage nursing home operators to be compassionate and comply with any new guidelines that are introduced.”