COVID INQUIRY: Care home restrictions were ‘too severe’ on relatives

John Gordon’s father John Angus died at Home Farm care home Pic Willie Urquhart

Allowing a named relative to visit loved ones living in care homes even if some kind of lockdown restrictions are in place is a change that has to happen, one Skye member of a bereaved families group has said.

John Gordon from Portree, whose father John Angus died as a result of the outbreak of Covid in the Home Farm care home in April 2020, told the Free Press that the so-called ‘Anne’s Law’, named after Anne Duke, a dementia patient in an East Kilbride care home who died in November 2021, would be a great advance for relatives.

Mr Gordon attended the opening of the public inquiry into the response to the Covid pandemic in Edinburgh last week.

11 people died following the Covid-19 outbreak at Home Farm Pic Willie Urquhart

Despite his approval of ‘Anne’s Law’, which the Scottish Government say will be included in the forthcoming National Care Service Act, he added: “When my father was ill in Home Farm and we were trying to get in to see him, either my sister or myself, but there was a knock-on effect of having to isolate, I think it was 10 days, which meant we would have missed the funeral and everything else.

“I don’t know if we would have got in, but we did have that discussion, because it was a dilemma: if you get in you are with your loved one, but you also have to isolate for 10 days.

“In the end, we didn’t get in because of the restrictions, and this was one of the hardest things for relatives, not being there. It goes against normal living when someone is dying, someone you love, you want to be there with them. 

“Staff too were struggling with what they had to deal with – they had to keep family members out.”

Mr Gordon added: “When I was down in Edinburgh this week I was chatting to a guy who had waited in the car park of a care home in Fife because he knew his dad was dying.

“The care home phoned the police on him.

“The restrictions for families were far too severe at the time and I think that has to change.”

Mr Gordon said the families of the 11 people who died as a result of Covid in Home Farm were hoping for “closure” and “honesty and transparency” from those in positions of authority who are called to give evidence to the inquiry, which is being chaired by Lord Brailsford.

Article by Michael Russell