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Gloria’s Law and the demand for a right to a Care Supporter

Lockdown created a new crisis for the eldercare system, especially in care homes and hospitals.

In an effort to protect the vulnerable from COVID-19, establishments instigated strict rules on visiting, often with families and friends being shut out altogether if any cases were detected within the care setting.

This became a very long-term issue, as waves of Coronavirus swept through care settings. Families were going for months without seeing their loved ones. On the one hand there were families who saw their loved ones contract Covid through numerous possible sources – visits to hospital, infected staff working in several homes, as well as possibly visitors to the care setting themselves. For some the infection was fatal.

On the other hand, many families found the rules incredibly painful, and very hard for their loved ones to understand, especially when they were living with dementia.

Several years on and there are reports of care homes in particular imposing what many consider to be draconian and unnecessary restrictions on visiting.

What is Gloria’s Law?

To avoid family and friends being cut off for long periods from their loved ones, there has been a call for rights to be enshrined in law, in what has come to be known as Gloria’s Law, named after the mother of actor Rush Henshall, who suffered a serious decline after months of being isolated from her family.

The aim of Gloria’s Law is to ensure that a person who needs care and support has at least one Essential Care Supporter.

There would be a requirement that those in the health and care system, such as hospitals, care settings and mental health facilities, and those providing care at home, should facilitate contact between the individual and their Care Supporter.

This contact should only be limited if there is a risk associated, for example, if the Care Supporter is infectious or for safeguarding, and must be in proportion to that risk.

Individual assessments should be carried out when this right is being considered for restriction.

If access is restricted, then an alternative form of contact must be agreed.

How can you help support the law?

The group Rights for Residents are asking people to write to their MPs. A template letter is available to download from their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/groups.RightsforResidents/posts/20504115575344481/

Photo by Seb Cumberbirch on Unsplash

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