We had 30 people at the carers group session this evening. Lisa welcomed some special visitors. Adam Purnell from Kepplegate Care Services in Lancashire and Donna Pierpoint from Broomgrove Nursing Home in Sheffield. Lisa also welcomed Theresa Villiers MP for Chipping Barnet and also Mike Rich CEO from Barnet Carers Centre.
Lisa first gave a brief summary about how her campaign started for ‘Visiting in Care Homes’ outlining the issues that have caused many families to die of heartbreak. Lisa then asked Adam and then Donna to start talking about how their care homes have been coping with the pandemic and what best practices they have been following.
Adam mentioned that he was very supportive of the John’s campaign which has been in the newspapers and has tried to set good guidelines that would continue to allow visiting without restricting those residents who had greater needs and were unable to understand social distancing and video calls. It was so wonderful to hear the same form Donna having similar best practices and both saying how for them, running a home with your heart was so important. They both also said how they challenged the local Council guidelines and were prepared to take their own risks. One of the ways they would introduce family relatives to the home would be to consider them as volunteers and have them DBS checked so that they form part of the staff and therefore there would be no insurance issues. These family volunteers would then be able to visit and help to for example feed their loved ones.
All care homes have infection control money which they can use to buy Lateral Flow Tests for example but most of the care homes have unfortunately used the money to buy perspex screens which is such a shame. It was thought that perhaps one of the problems with care homes was that their Head Office would make the decisions and therefore care home managers would be unable to make decisions based on the best interests of their residents.
Lisa then asked Theresa Villiers MP if she liked to say a few words. Theresa was very grateful for the opportunity to join the carers group meeting. She said that she had already spoken at Parliament about ‘Visiting in care Homes’ after initially bringing this matter to her attention and was pleased to hear from the 2 care homes this evening their best practices which she can take to Parliament.
Mike Rich also spoke explaining how difficult it has been trying to get the authorities to acknowledge the issues. The next forum will hopefully go ahead on the 17th December.
Lisa then opened the floor for questions which was very interesting. There were discussions about the Lateral Flow Tests and concerns about their accuracy but they were still important to have and every care home should have them to provide 30 minute tests. There was talks about the vaccines and also talks about residents care plans and the importance of making sure that families were kept informed and the care plans were kept up to date.
This was an excellent meeting and Lisa thanked everybody for attending. At the end Doctor Angela announced a vote of thanks to Lisa for continuing to have the meeting this evening even after her mum had only passed away during the night. A minute silence was also proposed and Lisa was overwhelmed.