For the lack of blog in the past month.
I lost my way.
I seem to start writing then stall; for example, this week it was going to be about older people and care homes.
You see, we, in the UK are doing something particularly
That is, depriving many people of their right to (family) life.
This is article 8 of the human rights act.
Yes, those rights accorded all people in all countries.
It doesn’t follow if you are old and living in a nursing home in the UK.
We had Covid, or, yes, we still have Covid, and in the really bad times – that was April and May, when things were at their peak and groups of older people were dying, and the lockdown was in full swing, most of us accepted the hiatus.
We understood the necessity to limit movement.
All in it together; we talked about the war.
Then, with the drop-off, and a return to normality, to sitting in pubs, restaurants and bowling alleys, it became easy to forget the crisis.
Sure, hard to ignore the facemasks.
If I want, I can buy a ticket and fly to France. Today. The limiting factor being the availability of seats and my ability to get home for work on Monday.
If I want, I can get in the car and drive to visit my sister in Scotland.
I can buy a pedalo, a house or sit at home.
The choice is mine.
I am fortunately unfortunate.
This was how I felt when Covid started.
Unfortunate because both my parents died 10 years ago and fortunate because I didn’t have to worry about them experiencing lockdown and all the associated restrictions and fears.
My mum would have struggled. (Dad would likely have shrugged and got on with it).
There are around 400,000 people living in care homes in the UK.
For the most, this group are in the vulnerable or at-risk cohort for whom Covid would be lethal; either because of their age, frailty or associated health conditions.
This was why the government’s lack of provision of PPE, training, support and ultimate movement of highly infectious people to care homes directly from hospital at the height of the Pandemic led to such horrors.
You see, there has been a storm, it hit in the spring and it has been fading.
It hasn’t gone – a little like this summer’s weather, we still have wet and rainy days, yet, for the most, the sun shines.
The sun shining is when we get out and about.
Yet, care home residents are still locked down.
You can’t get to see them.
You can’t get to hold your wife’s hand, kiss your mum or joke with your dad.
The substitute of window visiting is pathetic.
Again, I am glad I don’t have to endure that.
You see, because of the mess in our society – wrong government, chaotic leadership and so on, care home managers, that is, those ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of their residents don’t know what to do.
(Many are fearful if they do ‘the wrong thing’ they will be pilloried by those in government who have done their jobs so awfully but seem to manage to evade blame or culpability).
Some have seen people dying from Covid.
More have seen more people dying from isolation.
You see, carers, that is, staff in care homes do their best. To act as substitute or surrogate husbands and wives, sons and daughters; yet, as most of us know, this is not equivalent.
The average length of stay for an older person in residential care in the UK is 2 years; it is six months in a nursing home. You see, these people die.
A nursing home is the final residence for most.
Imagine in your last six months of life, you have at best been able to make contact with your son or daughter through a grubby window, or, if you are resident on a top-floor room, not at all.
Your last months of life diminished.
It is this that has accelerated the deterioration of older people.
That has sped them towards the grave.
And perhaps, it is this that has made it so difficult for me to write.
A few weeks ago, after several months of wrangling with video-call ward rounds I decided to gown-up and visit the nursing homes to see my patients.
It was a revelation.
It was in many respects like coming home; admittedly with a facemask.
I have tried to communicate as best I can through my eyes and tone of voice as my smile is gone, hidden-away.
An old lady on Thursday moved-in to kiss me; I backed-off. I had been asked to see her because she had been agitated. With me she was calm, and I know that is so very much the essence of care – understanding the language of interaction. How to approach another, how to speak through gesture, to know what to say and what not.
Another old couple were in the same care home and separated because of concerns for quarantine.
I of course respect these regulations. I kowtow to infection control, yet, we need to understand what and why we are controlling. When we are controlling ideas or generating fear we have it wrong.
I have so often seen our rational minds side-swiped by a necessity to check temperature or slap-on the alcohol gel that other considerations of safety or care are forgotten.
People who perceive one part of the message ‘gel’ but don’t see or understand the bigger picture ‘life’.
This has been a ramble.
Probably even less structure than my usual writing.
I like many working in health and social care are tired.
My frustration threshold has been lowered; I know I am not alone with this – I speak to others who question how many more restrictions or regulations they can take before they pop.
Sure, most of us won’t pop.
We will transform.
PS Also apologies – WordPress seem to have changed the editor again;
One thought on “Prisoners”
At the first trio talk from the lectern , BJ concluded the scripted section and then a lone voice (CMO?) commented ‘ and we must make arrangements for our older vulnerable people’.
Nothing of this was mentioned again for a very long time.
Were residential and nursing homes dismissed as private businesses, despite government supporting some places financially and being responsible overall for health and social care .
Humanity , where is the humanity, – thankfully in the sindividuals who care .