Covid: Wakefield woman campaigning for government to scrap isolation rules for care home residents

The family of an 84-year-old woman who lives in a care home in Wakefield are campaigning against "inhumane" isolation rules for residents who want to go outside.

Doreen Wilkinson's family have said it isn't right that someone returning from India has to isolate for ten days but that care home residents have to isolate for 14 days if they go to a local park or village.

The government have said that they are following the data, however, the Health Secretary said at a coronavirus briefing today that the government were working on reviewing the rules.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said: "We understand contact with family and friends is vital to the health and wellbeing of residents and we are doing everything we can to provide safe opportunities to meet.

"As we continue to move along the roadmap out of lockdown – guided by the data – we want to enable care home residents to enjoy a range of trips out of the care home, wherever it is safe and proportionate to do so.

"Guidance on visits out of care homes will be kept under review including, when the data shows it is safe, looking again at the requirement for residents to isolate on their return from a visit."

Julie Hart, Doreen's daughter, said: "I think it's inhumane, I think it's cruel and I think the most vulnerable people are being made to suffer.

"I think the government really need to take ownership of this guidance and to look at it soon and to address this issue of 14-day isolation and to stop putting the onus on care home managers because that is just passing the buck."

Campaigners argue that visits out for people with dementia are vital for residents health and wellbeing if they are done in a safe and controlled manner.

West Ridings Care Home, where Doreen lives, said: "The safety and wellbeing of our residents is our highest priority and as such we have always strictly adhered to the latest government guidance in regard to COVID-19 infection control."

They added: "We welcome the recent relaxation of the rules on care home visitation which now allow for each resident to receive two regular visitors, and a nominated individual as an Essential Care Giver, if required.

"As carers, we absolutely recognise the upset that these sadly necessary restrictions have wrought on families with loved ones in care homes.

"We look forward to the government continuing to ease restrictions as and when they deem it is safe to do so, in light of the ongoing progress of the vaccination programme."