NINE months without a visit: Furious son blasts care home that banned him from seeing his dementia-suffering mother, 78, since February because of Covid before finally relenting last week
- Paul Wilson, 56, says he was banned from seeing his mother, 78, for nine months
- The Limes Care Home denied visits due to Birmingham City Council regulations
- He says prisoners had more visitation rights in the city than his own mother
- Mr Wilson was finally able to see her mother during an outdoor visit last weekend
A furious son claims a care home banned him from seeing his dementia-suffering mother for nine months due to Covid-19 restrictions, before finally allowing a visit last week.
After repeated attempts to try and arrange a socially distanced, outdoor meeting, Mr Wilson, who hadn’t seen his mother since February, claims he started to call the police for check-ups on her, but was threatened with an arrest for breach of the peace.
He claims the care home refused him entry as it was ‘out of their control,’ while they followed Birmingham City Council’s guidance.
The care home was able to arrange a visit last weekend, but he claims the ban has infringed on his human right to a family life.
Teresa Wilson (pictured with her partner Barry) has dementia and spent lockdown at The Limes Care Homes in Birmingham. Covid-19 rules meant she was unable to see her son, Paul Wilson, for nine months. He claims the restrictions have infringed on his human rights
He said: ‘All we wanted to do was be in the same garden as mum and let her know she is loved, not forgotten, and that we were doing everything we could to see her.
‘It was the home that said they were following the guidelines.
‘As per a whole range of human rights laws – every person has a right to a family life.
‘Please do not misconstrue this as a Covid safety precaution – it isn’t. I have been perfectly clear in asking to meet outside, observing all safety protocols.’
Birmingam City Council introduced a total ban on care home visits during the first lockdown.
Restrictions were eased by July, but then locked down the following months due to rising infection rates.
Over the summer exasperated Mr Wilson, a business development director, even called police, asking them to check on the welfare of his mother.
Responding officers from West Midlands Police told him she was ‘fine, clean and talkative’ – but he claims he was warned him he would be arrested for breach of the peace if he carried on demanding to see her.
Paul Wilson was threatened with an arrest, he claims, after making repeated calls to police to check on his mother’s welfare. The 56-year-old says prisoners have been given more visitation rights than the elderly during lockdown
Updated Government guidance this month urged care home providers, families and local professionals to ‘work together to find the right balance between the benefits of visiting on wellbeing and quality of life, and the risk of transmission of Covid-19 to social care staff and vulnerable residents as we enter national restrictions.’
Mr Wilson, who lives just outside Stoke On Trent, said: ‘During the time that we have been unable to visit our mother, prisoners in Birmingham detention facilities have still been allowed visitors. Are prisoners more entitled than other adults?
‘During the time we have been unable to visit our mother we have been able to go to events, restaurants, pubs and sit with every other person’s mother as long as we are simply sitting 6ft away.
‘But we can’t sit outside, in a mask, 20ft away, and visit our own mother?
‘The staff who look after my mother could travel to work on a bus, stop for a pint (pre-second lockdown), get back on a bus and then walk into a care home and have close physical contact with my mother.
‘But we couldn’t be 20ft away, in PPE and just telling her we love her.’
Last weekend Mr Wilson finally got the chance to see his mum in a brief communal garden visit for the first time in nine-months.
He stressed he is pleased his mum, a former secretary and school playground assistant, is very well cared for by staff at the home and is simply frustrated at the level of bureaucracy.
It declined to comment when approached by MailOnline.
The city council said they are supporting all care home providers putting in place safe visiting arrangements after fresh guidance from the Government last week.
Birmingham City Council spokeswoman Sarah Kirby said: ‘We of course understand that these times are deeply painful and frustrating for so many families with loved ones in care homes and we are all doing all we can to protect lives and control the spread of the virus, particularly among our most vulnerable.
‘Just last week government issued new guidance to allow visits where safe to do so and we will be supporting all care home providers to put in place safe visiting arrangements, which we know is so important to families, that also take into account the advice of the director of public health.
Birmingham City fan Teresa was reunited with her son Paul during a visit at the West Heath care home last week
‘This will vary in different care homes based on their environment and risk assessment, and regular testing of staff and residents.
‘Private care homes have been given the same advice and support as local authority-funded homes and it is essential that we continue to work together across the care system to protect the most vulnerable residents in care settings.’
Les Latchman, from the Birmingham Care Consortium, issued a statement on behalf of the care home and confirmed a meeting involving the council had just taken place about visitation issues for care service providers.
He said: ‘The need to keep our residents and each other as safe as possible is paramount in these times.
‘Following the meeting that took place on Monday (November 9) to discuss the issues for providers, Birmingham City Council will be issuing further advice to assist care providers in implementing a safe visiting arrangement.
He added: ‘We care for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and therefore it is important that we get visiting right so that people remain safe. We understand the difficulties and worries that families experience not being able to see their loved ones.
‘We also see and understand the benefits of visits and would always want to facilitate visits where possible.’