'Bad rules can be enforced by nice people', campaigner tells Shelagh Fogarty

5 May 2021, 17:31

By Tim Dodd

A dementia campaigner has told LBC that care homes have 'lost the confidence to think for themselves' about the recent relaxation in care home guidance which isn't being followed everywhere.

The conversation comes after an exclusive LBC poll found two-thirds of people want more visitors to be allowed at care homes.

Julia Jones is Co-Founder of John's Campaign which fights for the visiting rights of family carers for patients with dementia. She told Shelagh Fogarty:

"There's too much [of a] binary approach. Either somebody who is elderly, or young, and disabled, lives at home, and their family must take the whole of the burden ... or the person has to move into residential care at which the point the family is somehow seen to be completely unnecessary."

Shelagh clarified: "Blend the two and fund it?" "Yes", Julia replied.

"One of the things we're seeing is that bad rules can be enforced by nice people. This is how bad things happen. For a sense of safety, people stick with the letter and forget the spirit", Julia said.

"I believe we've gone wrong with this because we've missed out on the things that are really important.

"Bad things happen. Covid is a bad thing. Death is a bad thing. But it's how you deal with them that matters. And when the way of dealing with them is to say that a husband of 60 or 70 years can no longer see his wife, alarm bells should ring."

READ MORE: Shelagh Fogarty speaks of opposition to current Covid care home rules 

When Shelagh asked why some care homes are saying they're not ready to implement the changes to Covid rules which see residents able to leave their home without having to isolate, Julia said:

"To be honest the Government did cave in so fast, because we were about to take them to court and we got our legal case all ready, and the change of attitude came so fast on Friday that they'd forgotten even to inform the lawyers of it.

"And they'd certainly forgotten and hadn't thought to prepare the care homes for it. The trouble is that care homes have got so used to having these screeds of guidance, they've really lost the confidence to think for themselves.

"Suddenly they were tipped into this new situation, and of course, relatives were thrilled, it was a lovely weekend - they wanted to take people out, and care homes were saying 'I need to call my head office' and it was bank holiday weekend."

Shelagh remarked that this was the "worst form" of "computer says no".