'She's not my mum anymore' heartbreaking call from care home resident's daughter

3 September 2020, 16:54

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the heartbreaking call from the daughter of a care home resident which moved LBC listeners and presenters.

With the news a dementia charity is mounting a legal challenge over the Government's guidance on family visits to care home residents during the coronavirus outbreak Shelagh Fogarty asked LBC listeners to call in with their care home experiences.

The result was a moving and heartbreaking series of calls which moved listeners and LBC staff.

Joan called and told Shelagh her mother was in a care home, she was in her 80s but was perfectly fit before the coronavirus lockdown.

Over the course of the call the reason behind the legal challenge became clear.

Joan said her mother recently came out of hospital but shockingly it "wasn't the woman who went into hospital."

"It's like she's not our mum anymore, someone else owns her," the caller said.

Joan explained that she was unable to visit her mother, and they were not able to have calls as she was deaf. But they could see one another through a window.

"It's so bad to be watching her in the window crying hysterical outside the window because she looks like she's gonna die," the caller told LBC.

She said at times her mother was shouting out for help as she did not understand what was happening to her.

"She needs us in there holding her hand," the caller said and Shelagh could only agree with her.

Joan said the frustration was the worst thing for her, telling Shelagh it was not fair to keep someone in these conditions.

Movingly Joan said her mother could not understand why her loved ones were not able to come in and be with her.

"My mum is so distraught, she's looking out the window thinking, why are they looking at me? Why aren't they in here with me holding my hand," Joan said.

Joan said it was just her and her sister who wanted to go in and spend time with their mother, and they were both willing to wear full PPE and bleach everything to ensure they keep things safe.

John's Campaign is seeking a judicial review of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)'s care home visiting guidance issued on July 22.

But charities said passing responsibility to local decision-makers was likely to result in little change in visiting access unless the point was "clearly made and enforced by the Government".

John's Campaign believes closest family members are not an "optional extra" but integral to residents' wellbeing, and that the Government has failed to take into account individuals' human rights.

While some care homes are making decisions based on individuals' needs, the founders say others "lack the confidence which clear Government direction would give".

This is causing "avoidable suffering", they say.

A DHSC spokesman said: "We know that limiting visits in care homes has been difficult for many families and residents who want to see their loved ones, but our first priority is to prevent infections in care homes, and this means that visiting policy should still be restricted, with alternatives sought wherever possible.

"Visiting policies should be tailored by the individual care home and taking into account local risks in their area."