Jenny Morrison and Diane Mayhew launched Rights For Residents in September 2020. In response to the cruel and inhumane visiting policies placed on care home residents, they mobilised the families of those directly affected into actively campaigning on behalf of their loved ones, whose voices can’t be heard. Many care homes continue to deny residents their human right to a family life.
Residents tell their families they would rather die than carry on “existing” in isolation. Relatives are plagued by feelings of guilt. They find themselves wishing their loved one would pass away, rather than continue to decline, often in a state of anxiety and distress, while they’re unable to comfort them.
What’s been achieved so far?
The Campaign to end the harsh visiting restrictions has been hugely successful. In response to the immense pressure from campaigners and their supporters in the media and in Parliament the government have been forced to update and improve their guidance to care homes several times.
As a result, thousands of residents across the country have been reunited with their loved ones and are enjoying vital family contact. The government have now accepted the principle that every resident SHOULD have a nominated Essential Visitor. While this is cause for celebration, we continue to campaign for residents to have their right to essential visits enshrined in law.
Even the most vulnerable living in the community, who have been fully vaccinated, can enjoy endless opportunities to mingle if they so wish. They are free to make their own decisions and manage their own risk, in the knowledge that the level of protection provided by the vaccine is as good as it gets. The same principle must be applied to those living in care settings as there is no risk-free solution for any of us. Many are in their last months, days and weeks of life and the quality of life is just as important as the quantity. The risks are now minimal and must be balanced against the huge risks of people giving up the will to live due to loneliness and isolation.
Family members are not “just” visitors, they offer an essential component of care that has been removed during the pandemic. No matter how wonderful care staff are they can not provide the emotional support that can only come from a family member. We are the eyes, ears, voices and memories of our loved ones.
For more information and to learn more about the campaign visit the website Campaign – Rights for Residents