In response to the new government guidelines on Care Home visits tide member Doreen Russell has shared her story on the day the country enters Lockdown 2.0.

Although my mum is no longer here I still feel the agony of those in this terrible situation as the separation from those you love so much is at times overwhelming. The sheer frustration of helplessness and despair will

I fear, result in real concerns for long term mental health problems in those of us who have fought for so long for the right to see those who put their trust in us to keep them safe. The guilt of letting them down at a time of their utmost vulnerability will never leave many of us, of that I am certain. This is very difficult to live with.

I know I am not alone in feeling the disappointment of these latest government “guidelines” because that is all they are, and for as long as the Homes are left to their own arrangements it will never change. The only way some of these Home managers can deal with this is to adopt draconian measures born out of fear of the consequences of making a mistake. These are unique circumstances none of us have ever faced and the average managers are not equipped to make such radical changes outside of the usual routine.

For all the precautions taken it is likely the staff themselves took Covid 19 into the home my mum was in. As they were one of the first to lockdown back in March, family members and even window visits were prohibited so it makes the circumstances even harder for us to deal with.

Multiple times a day I see the suffering of my friends and family members still desperately trying to see their loved ones. A rising number have died and there are those like myself who have managed to spend only the last few hours with those we never left in life.

Guidelines are guidelines…no more….until by LAW this situation is forced to change it will simply implode. I fully understand the nurse who tried to “ rescue” her mother and was arrested for her efforts!

I believe the care homes should have support from a panel along the lines of the CQC. A team of people who, given the facts we now have about this virus, should be permitted to do an independent assessment of care homes with a view to making them Covid safe and issue a certificate to say to the “ best” of their ability this home has striven to comply with suggestions that will facilitate visiting. Of course it will vary from one home to the next but this way the isolation and siege mentality currently adopted could be eased.

It is just an idea but it is evident something has to be done….and quickly.

I believe I am usually a calm and rational individual but I know I will NEVER get over this terrible feeling of guilt in letting my mum down and I can see exactly the same reactions in those suffering around me right now.