An Expat who lives in Spain tells of his battle with a care home in the Uk who will not allow him to visit his brother Harry who is suffering dementia among other illnesses- instead, they offer a video call, which has to be pre-booked!
In his own words- Brian Heyhurst. (Malaga, Spain)
I am absolutely gutted at not being able now to window visit my brother Harry who is in an Almondbury care home with dementia, and a group of other family members and close friends have set up Sct – Justice for Dad’s having tried every avenue to change back the viewing arrangements, hoping that they can reverse the draconian rules, instigated recently by the home’s management. The group are convinced that this is a DEPRIVATION OF LIBERTY and infringing residents HUMAN RIGHTS.
My wife Elaine and I live in Spain, and hearing of Harry’s rapid decline in health, we immediately got a flight hoping like others, to see him regularly. I was informed that my first visit given was for 15 minutes at a window and will be the last, as no further window visits will take place, and “this will be your last!” said the manager.
Along with Harry’s daughter – Vicki Dooley, Kathryn Simoni, Cath Banks all with Fathers at the home, there is Elaine Conroy, a lifelong friend and my wife who have all tried contacting the Care Home head offices, Kirklees Social Services and CQC – Care Quality Commission, but alas there has been little or no help forthcoming. These residents are seriously ill dementia patients banned from seeing loved ones now with blinds down and curtains pulled shut giving no natural light causing stress for both residents and relatives, daily. And today as I write we are expecting the highest temperatures for a decade!
I cancelled a cancer operation in Spain hoping Elaine and I could have some vital, stimulating meet-ups with Harry but it was not to be. We have, like others been given chance to have a weekly 10 min video call with him, if booked in advance. But these will be pointless for those residents with hearing and other issues trying to create that necessary personal contact with loved ones.
The group have pleaded with management to raise the blinds and let in light but phone calls are abruptly ended with ‘We are working to Government guidelines!’ The homeowners have been bombarded with similar requests but they have been slow to react so far. Six other local care homes have been contacted, all encouraging window visits stating – ‘these visits are important to the residents as they definitely stimulate and creates happiness’. We realise that during COVID that all care home residents need to be protected but their mental welfare is vital as indicated in an open letter from Alzheimer’s Society.
In the beginning, Harry had a frequent stream of family, friends and gymnastics colleagues who all said he responded well and saddened to see them leave. Now, no visits of any kind are allowed and I personally am livid as I will have to go back soon to undertake the operation, and Harry is upset that he cannot see my wife Elaine again.
Brian’s Brother Harry was a County level gymnast, Yorkshire champion on rings and a popular figure in Huddersfield. His 78th birthday is this month.
Almondbury care home in the news.
Almondbury care home was told to improve staffing levels after the Southfield Court Care Home faced its second inspection in 12 months. Staffing issues were raised with complaints by relatives who told inspectors: “These girls are worked off their feet, I feel sorry for them. There isn’t enough staff. I come every lunchtime and it takes me two hours to feed (person). How can the staff do that?”
Do you know anyone who has experienced the same problem as Brian? if so, please let us know- it could result in the care home maybe changing its policy are even extending a visit to a relative or loved one.