These will enable conversations and connections established at our Sussex wide event in November (Staying Connected with loved ones in Care Homes during the pandemic) to continue.
Quote from someone who attended our first webinar:
'Matt & I really enjoyed the last webinar in January, and we did ask quite a few questions.
Our close relative, Willow, has a severe learning disability and can no longer communicate or speak her wishes. Although we understand why lockdown has happened, it has had an enormous effect on us as a family & Willow herself. She can't see us or communicate with us and must feel abandoned (Zoom doesn't work).
For you as a Healthwatch team to bring together the various departments for discussion is a real bonus.'
So far, we have spoken to over 150 local people about:
- the vaccination programme and visiting
- the impact of long-term restricted visiting/separation from loved ones is having on families
- what the system should be doing to support relatives and family carers
What have we heard?
There is a contrast between local care home in their approach to visiting. We have heard how hard some care homes are working to help family carers stay connected to their family resident. Sadly we have also been touched by families accounts of a lost year without seeing their relative in a home and in some case having great difficulties in getting staff to communicate with them.
With this insight, we are going to continue to push for people to work together to look at appropriate ways of enabling connect and support families where they experience continued challenges.
Since the last webinar, new visiting guidance was published 8th March. You can find important information to help homes and families with this new guidance here: Supporting a safe return of family and friends to Care Homes