Son forced to visit ‘suicidal’ mum in care home through cage-like fence

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The son of a woman with dementia can only visit her through wire mesh.

Brian Halliday’s mum Agnes has been in a care home since a week before the first lockdown back in March.

The 58-year-old, from East Lothian near Edinburgh, has only been allowed one indoor visit in the nine months since, which lasted for 30 minutes and ended with his mother in tears.

The 89-year-old has really struggled during her time in Eskgreen Care Home and has even asked her son to help her commit suicide.

“Every time I went to see her she was begging me to help her commit suicide,” Mr Halliday told The Metro.

“I tried to keep her hopes up by telling her just to hang on a bit longer.”

Mr Halliday feels like the home has made it difficult for him to see his mum and stopped them from hugging during one visit.

“I can’t get her face out of my mind and I’ve been unable to sleep and living in fear that they’ll stop me seeing my mother,” he continued.

Mr Halliday, who is his mum’s main carer, has only been allowed window and fence visits at the home.

As a result he has not been able to assuage his mum’s fears that she is being abandoned.

Since being in care Mrs Halliday has lost a lot of weight and has broken her hip twice, her son said.

He took a photo of his mum through the fence during the summer and released it through the Care Campaign for the Vulnerable (CCFTV).

The campaign has highlighted the difficulties of people living in care and their families during the lockdown.

It claims to have seen 154 “unfair” evictions of care home residents since March 23, which relatives say were down to disputes over visiting.

CCFTV fears this is the “tip of the iceberg” with “hundreds of families in similar positions afraid to speak out”.

Some relatives claim months of loneliness while visits were banned led to the deaths of their loved ones.

CCFTV founder Jayne Connery said: “Families say some homes don’t facilitate visits, even at a closed window.

“Some haven’t seen loved ones for six months.

“Evicting an elderly person from a care home can bring severe decline physically and emotionally.”

An East Lothian Health and Social Care Partnership (ELHSCP) spokesperson said its care homes were doing everything possible to ensure residents and family members could see each other in person, over the phone and in real life.

Nominated family members are regularly updated on how their relatives are doing, they added,

Mr Halliday has complained to the Care Inspectorate, which is the watchdog for homes in Scotland.

Stringent restrictions have been placed on care home visits in order to keep outbreaks to a minimum.