Sheffield care home residents 'being left behind in continuous lockdown' due to Covid rules

Care home visits have been severely restricted by Covid rules (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)Care home visits have been severely restricted by Covid rules (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
Care home visits have been severely restricted by Covid rules (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)
A Sheffield couple whose mothers are in care homes believe that Covid-19 restrictions should be eased so that residents spend less time in isolation.

Dr David Clarke, a lecturer in Sheffield, and his partner Caroline are frustrated with the current restrictions in place at care homes to tackle the virus.

The couple have mothers with dementia at two care homes in the city and have been unable to see them frequently due to strict Covid-19 measures.

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Under current government guidance, if there is an outbreak (two or more cases) at a care home, most visits will postponed for 14 days. Additionally, only three family members can be regular visitors, which has meant that David’s nephew has been unable to see his grandmother for months on end.

David said: “Given that this week the whole country is coming out of restrictions, why are elderly people being left behind? They are effectively in continuous lockdown. Everybody has had setbacks in lockdown. But it seems to be improving for everyone except care home residents. It’s actually going backwards.

"My mum hardly recognises me. Throughout last year I was seeing her regularly, I would take photographs to show her and I could see there was something registering. Having not seen her properly for over a month, everything I have achieved in the last year is now back to square one.”

David said that he recognised the hard work of the care staff both at the Sheffield care home of his mother, and his partner’s mother, but believes that national policy must change.

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He added: “Care home residents have no voice of their own other than through their children. How can a society be so inhumane. What happened to the Human Rights Act?

"I think because the government messed up so badly with care homes early into the pandemic, this now is a massive knee jerk reaction.”

From January 27, most Covid-19 measures brought in to tackle the Omicron variant – wearing masks in shops and on public transport, work from home guidance, and vaccine certificates – will be scrapped in England, and self-isolation rules are due to end on March 24.

It is unclear what measures will remain in place at care homes in England after this date.

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Louise Haigh MP for Sheffield Heeley, said: “It has been extremely hard for care homes to ensure that they protect their residents during the pandemic, whilst also maintaining contact with family members.

“I sympathise with Dr Clarke and his family and that he feels that the measures are too strict. I have written to the Secretary of State for Health for him to clarify these rules. I have also been in contact with Dr Clarke to offer further support.”