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Looking After Relatives in Care Homes During Covid-19

Posted on 28th April 2020 in Probate & Wills, Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted by

Emma Ruttley

Looking After Relatives in Care Homes During Covid-19

In these uncertain times and with official guidance changing on a regular basis, many people are understandably worried about their elderly or vulnerable relatives. It can be particularly difficult to know what to expect from care providers and how best to look after the interests of your relatives who are in care homes or receiving care at home.

Whatever your situation, you are going to be understandably keen to stay in touch with your relative, but in the safest possible way during the outbreak. For this reason, it is recommended that family members contact care homes before visiting and use other methods where possible, for instance telephone or video calls. If you do need to visit, you should expect care providers to take extra caution. For instance, they may ask about your health, take your temperature to check for fever and ask you to follow hygiene procedures. Visitors may also be restricted to visit one at a time and will likely only be permitted to visit the resident’s room. This is the case unless tragedy is likely to strike and, if a resident is likely to be spending their last days soon, family members will be permitted to visit in order to say goodbye.

The outbreak is adding stress and worry about family to everyone’s daily lives at the moment, but what about the concern as to your duties if you are appointed as an attorney to deal with your relative’s property and financial affairs? As a property and financial affairs attorney, you can act for your relative while they still have mental capacity, although you should consult with them before making decisions on their behalf. This could apply to the choice of care home and the cost of this, as well as dealing with financial institutions and any property they may own while they are in care. In terms of the care your relative receives, if they still have mental capacity then this is a decision which they should make themselves. 

If you are considering arranging a package of care, care homes are still permitted to accept new residents, provided that they follow strict procedures and new residents are isolated in their room for at least seven days. If you are trying to find a place for a relative, you may find that some care homes are not in a position to accept new residents at the moment. It is worth checking whether particular homes have experienced any cases of Covid-19 and how this was dealt with.

If, on the other hand, you have a loved one receiving support from a home care agency, whether you act as their attorney or otherwise, it may give you some peace of mind to contact the care provider to check their safety measures and contingency plans. It may also be appropriate to check that carers follow strict hygiene rules and ensure that an adequate supply of soap, towels and other hygiene products are available for them to use.

Whatever your circumstances, if you are acting as attorney for someone and would like some assistance, please do get in touch with our team, or for further support around the Coronavirus pandemic then visit our hub page. We will do our utmost to give you peace of mind in a strange new world.

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