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Care homes and hospitals told to stop shutting out visitors

Care homes and hospitals will be forced to allow visitors under plans being drawn up by the government.

Helen Whately, the care minister, said shutting out relatives showed a lack of humanity. Covid-19 rules mean some of the country’s most vulnerable people still cannot have loved ones at their bedside.

Whately, who has told of her personal grief and frustration at being barred from visiting her critically ill mother, is now developing laws to give residents and patients a right to receive visitors.

Although official visiting restrictions were dropped in the spring in England, there are still widespread reports of care homes and hospitals refusing to let in relatives or imposing stringent conditions that ministers do not believe are justified by public health guidance.

Hundreds of care homes still refuse to accept visitors entirely, according to government figures, while others restrict residents to one relative at a time. 

Campaigners report residents losing weight because their relatives cannot go in to help them at mealtimes amid staff shortages. They also fear residents are being left in bed for long periods because staff know there will be no visitors to check on them. Whately said that she was “determined to fix” the issue, adding: “No one can be in any doubt now how much visits matter”. 

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 11 November 2022

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