The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales wants to hear from older people who are experiencing issues with care home visits, as well as their family and friends, following a further change in guidance this week to remove the ‘two designated visitor’ rule.
As guidance has changed throughout the spring, the Commissioner has been contacted by a number of people who have faced difficulties relating to visits, and raised concerns about gaps between the guidance and the reality on the ground.
With new guidance now in place, the Commissioner is urging anyone who experiences difficulties to contact her office so she can assess whether cases are isolated, or whether issues are more widespread.
This will ensure that the voices of older people living in care homes (and their families and friends) are heard, and will allow her to share any concerns with the Welsh Government and other bodies so that action be taken to support care homes to enable safe indoor visits.
Anyone who contacts the Commissioner’s office will also be offered advice and support from her casework team, to help them resolve any issues they may be facing.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“We know how important visits from family and friends are for the well-being of older people living in care homes, and the changes in the guidance to remove restrictions on who can visit are a welcome step forward. A huge amount of work has been undertaken in care homes throughout Wales to make more visits possible, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for all they have done.
“But some issues have been raised with me, and it’s crucial that what the guidance promises is being delivered consistently on the ground.
“That’s why I want to hear from people about their experiences – not just about the issues and challenges they have faced, but also the good practice being delivered that is making a positive difference. This will allow me to determine how widespread issues relating to visits are, and identify the kinds of action and support that can help to ensure that safe visits are able to go ahead.
“I will ensure that older people’s voices are heard by the Welsh Government and other bodies, and will raise any concerns I have so that issues can be resolved.
“My casework team will also offer tailored advice and support to anyone who contacts me.
“So I would urge anyone who has faced difficulties relating to visits to please get in touch with me so I can help.”