Katherine Froggatt's reflects on personal care home visits.
On Saturday I visited my mother in her room in the care home. It was the first time I had been inside the building to visit her and see her room since she moved there last March. It was a lovely time but also surreal.
As you can see, I looked somewhat like an astronaut with the PPE I was required to wear: a face shield, gloves and a wrap-around apron. With the hearing difficulties my mother has, a face shield allowed more opportunity for lip reading and clarity of sound.
There was much pleasure at being able to visit her room, see where she lives, the view from the window, how she has arranged her possessions and talk without a Perspex screen between us.
We are fortunate that the manager has opened up the care home to in-person visiting by a nominated family member, once a week, as I know that some care homes have chosen to remain closed for a while longer. While we were allowed to hold hands, our interaction is still mediated by a screen/mask, by gloves so no skin-to-skin contact, and also my clothes are covered so how I present myself by what I wear is hidden.
Things are moving in the right direction, but there is a long way to go before our family in care homes will have the full freedoms of unmediated touch, unrestricted visits and the ability to see the world outside the care home; all things that we took for granted, before the pandemic, as part of our way of living. The need for support and prayer continues for residents, their family members and staff as they continue to navigate this unknown path together.
Katherine Froggatt, Anna Chaplaincy Lead, Cumbria.