A devastated son says he has been stopped from visiting his dying mum at a care home due to lockdown rules drawn up by the Welsh Government.
Ryan Mee said he has been told he only can see his 68-year-old mum Gillian Mee at the care home in Rhondda Cynon Taf in her last days rather than her final weeks under guidance by Public Health Wales (PHW).
Mr. Mee said his sister received a call two weeks ago explaining that they should ‘prepare themselves for the worst’ because their mum, who has early-onset dementia, had lost a significant amount of weight, Wales Online reports.
But despite visiting her care home on a few occasions after the news, he said they were told on Monday that the arrangement could not continue under government rules.
This is because doctors gave the grandmother-of-four “weeks” to live rather than a matter of days.
In England, government guidelines state that care home visits can be enabled in the final weeks and months of a person’s life and “not just the final days or hours”.
But Welsh Government guidance states that “visits in exceptional circumstances such as end of life should continue”.
Mr. Mee claims he was told this only applies to the last days of someone’s life.
The 41-year-old said: “Two weeks ago we had a call from the district nurse who goes around the care home. She said ‘I’d prepare myself because mum’s lost a significant amount of weight’. She said we could be talking for weeks. “
Mr. Mee said both he and his sister had tested negative for coronavirus before previous visits after using lateral flow tests at the care home – which Mr. Mee does not wish to name.
He said they were dressed in aprons and were wearing masks and face shields for the duration of the one-hour visit.
Sadly due to his mum’s frontotemporal lobe dementia, she can no longer communicate, meaning video calls are not possible.
Mr. Mee said while the facility would accommodate the visits, organizing them would contradict government rules.
Mrs. Mee lived with her husband Neil before moving into a care home in 2019. Neil was diagnosed with lung cancer in April 2019 and died eight months later.
Mrs. Mee transferred to her current care home last July but her family was unable to help her move or see her new home due to coronavirus restrictions.
Her family said since the pandemic started they have only been able to see Mrs. Mee a handful of times during visits to the facility’s garden.
Mr. Mee said: “From September we were stopped from seeing her when Rhondda went into local lockdown and basically nothing has happened. We weren’t even told we could have outside visits again. Over Christmas a video call once a week is what we were allowed which is no good for my mum as she has frontotemporal lobe dementia and no longer communicates. Anyone with dementia would struggle if you stick an iPhone in front of their face.”
Mr. Mee has written to Health Minister Vaughan Gething and First Minister Mark Drakeford urging for changes in care home visiting rules.
In 2020, dementia charity John’s Campaign launched a legal challenge against care home government guidance in England.