People must not die alone

Liverpool’s Lib Dem Leader Cllr Richard Kemp is urging Liverpool Council to respond to Government consultations about care homes with a clear request to find ways of allowing visits by relatives and friends.

Cllr Kemp, who is also the Vice Chair of the Health & Social Care Board of the Local Government Association, says, “Over the past 10 months I have been listening, as most people have, to some terrible stories about families who were not able to comfort their loved ones in their final months, weeks and days.

You think first of the misery of the people that are dying. The comfort of having lived well is reinforced by the presence of a family member or friend. Someone to talk to; to reminisce with or simply hold their hand as they passed can make dying the ultimate experience and not the ultimate terror.

Not only does the sadness apply to the person who dies but there are long-term mental health consequences for the people who had to stand aside. The feeling of desolation that at the last they were unable to help their love ones at the end will remain with them for a long time it is certainly slowing the grieving process. I urge Liverpool City Council to urge the Government to support five simple steps:

  • Testing of visitors to help the management of the virus
  • As a minimum, designating one person per resident as a ‘special visitor’ who is eligible for regular testing, PPE and training alongside the care home staff, to help facilitate their ability to keep coming in.
  • Recognise that care homes and residents are all different and must be enabled to manage visiting in the way that works for them, their environment and their people and empowered to talk to all their residents, their loved ones and staff to work this out.
  • Support all care homes to create safe COVID-19 visiting spaces to use to visit safely • Get the entire health and care sector to rally around to support care home visiting, including CQC, local authorities and DPHs, and health and care staff too. The NHS is supposed to support ‘cradle’ to grave’ care. Regrettably, too many people are reaching the end of our lives without that care.