Tory MSP calls for better care home visit arrangements

Tory MSP Graham Simpson met with campaigners from Care Home Relatives Scotland outside Scottish Parliament is now calling on the SNP Scottish Government for amended care home visit guidelines.

Around 50 campaigners gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to call for care home visiting restrictions to be eased, with many holding photos of family members.

Mr. Simpson spoke to campaigner East Kilbride resident Christine Cusack who suggested family members and residents are suffering from growing levels of stress and despair and highlighted the severe impact the current guidelines are having on loved ones.

Graham Simpson, MSP for Central Scotland said:

“The human tragedy that is taking place in care homes across East Kilbride and broader Scotland is truly heart breaking.

“Quarantine restrictions have been tough enough on families as is, but I can only imagine the added frustration and anguish people must feel to not have regular access to their loved ones in care homes.  

“Care home residents and the staff have been at the forefront of this battle and the consequences of Scottish Government complacency have been devastating.

“Care home staff are doing their very best, but they continue to miss out on vital support from our Scottish Government. With more PPE and consistent testing, there are safe solutions to be had.

“I’m urging the SNP Scottish Government to act without delay. We need immediate action to resolve this dreadful situation in a safe way.

“I’d like to thank Christine Cusack, and the campaigners from Care Home Relatives Scotland for bringing this issue to light. Hopefully a resolution will be found quickly.

Christine Cusack, East Kilbride resident and Care Home Relatives Scotland campaigner said:

“My mum went into care after 12 years suffering from dementia the first week in March but due to COVID restrictions we removed her after one week.

“We sadly had to re- admit her on 4th June as she needs the 24/7 care that became difficult for just two of us to provide at home but hoping restrictions would lift.

“The deterioration in my mum is heart-breaking, loss of weight and asking what she has done that no-one wants to see her, actually crying about it, and this is after only three months, others have been in this situation for 6 months.

“The residents suffering with dementia are showing clear signs of physical and mental deterioration following months of complete social isolation. 

“Those with physical frailty but full mental capacity are losing the will to live, as their hope of ever leading the lives they previously enjoyed diminishes.

“They are allowed maximum of one weekly visit, by appointment, in the garden, in the rain, socially distanced, wearing a mask, supervised at all times, shouting to be heard, and unable to explain what is happening to a bewildered face. As for the proposed indoor visits, South Lanarkshire Council have not allowed these to be introduced, these will be vital with winter months approaching.

“There are almost 40,000 people quite literally locked in care homes at present and they are not statistics, but much-loved mums, dads, husbands, wives, grandparents and friends.

“The lock down measures which started in March were understandable, but ironically, if our loved ones were now admitted to hospital, we could visit them every day for an hour by their bedsides.

“I understand mistakes were made at the start of this pandemic and care home deaths were unacceptably high, but surely we have learned from this and a better model can be found with the information now available.

“The residents were not the ones who made these mistakes, but they are the ones who are suffering now. Saving lives is a priority but so also it is letting them have a life worth living.