Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020

Retired TV producer, 80, slams 'monstrous' Covid restrictions that left Alzheimer stricken wife isolating for 7 weeks

A RETIRED TV producer has slammed "monstrous" Covid restrictions that mean his Alzheimer's sufferer wife will have to isolate for seven weeks.

Michael Blakstad says wife Tricia, 79, has been alone in her room for three weeks already after two staff members at her care home tested positive for the disease.

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The 80-year-old, who edited Tomorrow's World, has now blasted care home rules that mean she will have to isolate for a further four weeks.

Under the guidelines, visitors are banned and residents confined to their rooms for up to 28 days after the worker's isolation period.

This means Tricia – an ex-BBC TV set designer for Doctor Who – will be isolated from her family for seven weeks in total.

Michael, who hasn't named the home, said: "Her form of Alzheimer's means she really likes to keep moving, walking around and as she is stuck in a room, not being able to get out, it's terrifying.

"It's been three weeks now and you can see there has been a deterioration.

"She will be another four weeks without visitors, they won't tell me if she is allowed out of her room, it's crazy, it's monstrous."

'SHE'S COLLATERAL DAMAGE'

Care home guidelines were updated on November 5 when England was plunged into second lockdown.

Under the rules, care home visits can only take place outside, through windows or in PPE-covered pods.

But Michael claims the home banned all visitors after the staff members tested positive.

He added: "The truth is she is collateral damage, she is friendly fire, she has done nothing to deserve this, obviously Covid is a ghastly disease but so is dementia.

"At the beginning of the pandemic there were a lot of cases in care homes but the Government is vastly over-reacting, it's throwing a safety blanket over the whole thing, vastly in excess of what is needed.

"It's not visitors who took Covid into this care home, it was a care-worker."

 

Care homes have been destroyed by the pandemic as the virus left residents without any contact from loved ones for eight months.

According to the ONS, one in five people in care homes in England became infected with coronavirus – and more than half of all homes had outbreaks.

Michael praised his wife's "wonderful" care home for its "lovely" staff and added: "It's the system I am criticising.

"Care homes are all scared stiff of being sued, they are not going to take any mild risk."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the account as "heartbreaking".

He has vowed to ring-fence thousands of Covid swab tests to ensure families can visit their relatives in care homes this Christmas.

The MP said a pilot scheme at 20 homes will end the need for "prison-style" plastic screens.

The plans – starting today – could also let residents have physical contact with loved ones.

Key visitors will be tested weekly at 20 locations across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon.

His pledge came after campaigners warned 'loneliness can kill' as vulnerable people begin to give up hope.

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