United Kingdom

Coronavirus Scotland: Care home resident, 104, begs to see family

This is the heart-wrenching moment a 104-year-old grandmother makes a desperate plea to be reunited with her family amid the current coronavirus restrictions.  

Care home resident Mary Fowler, who is staying in the Balfarg Care Home in Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, begged to see her children again as she described how the current measures were 'cutting her to bits'.  

In a video message shared by Care Home Relatives Scotland, Ms Fowler, who has been kept in the home since March, said: 'I'm very well looked after here. I want my family though. This is my right. Please help. It's cutting me to bits.

'I must see my kids, time's getting on for me. I must see my children and make things like they used to be. Please help me. Please, please help.'

Mary Fowler, 104, who is staying in the Balfarg Care Home in Glenrothes, Fife, Scotland, has made a desperate plea to be reunited with her family amid the current coronavirus restrictions

Organiser of Care Home Relatives Cathie Russell took to Twitter to share the emotional footage with members of the public.

She said: 'Mary Fowler aged 104 and locked in a care home since lockdown on March is at the end of her tether.'

The scenes come as the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was 'heart sorry' for care home residents who have not been able to see their families for months.

Ms Sturgeon said testing for care home visitors will be a 'priority' in her forthcoming review but stressed there was no easy solution at the daily coronavirus briefing today. 

Asked about Mrs Fowler's message at the coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said she had not yet seen the video but decisions on care home visiting had been 'heartbreakingly difficult'.

She said: 'To Mary, I'm heart sorry for the position you're in and the position your family's in.

'That's replicated many, many, many times over across the country. But we have to keep people in care homes as safe as possible

'The new guidance is not a panacea and it could never be in the current context.

'But it is about trying to get back to some sort of normality for people for whom visits are not just visits, they are a key part of their quality of life and care.

'Testing of designated visitors going into care homes, those who regularly go, is one of the priorities of the extension of testing into other asymptomatic groups.'       

The care home resident described how the current measures were 'cutting her to bits' in her emotional plea

Nicola Sturgeon said she was 'heart sorry' for care home residents who have not been able to see their families and said testing for care home visitors will be a 'priority'

Chief nursing officer Fiona McQueen said she did not want to see a return of the 'blunt instrument' at the beginning of the pandemic when all care home visiting was restricted, as this had an impact on residents' wellbeing. 

She told the briefing: 'Just being with them, and being with them for an extended period of time, helps them.

'We know that that is now as essential as protecting people from Covid-19.

'Care home owners are working tirelessly to put the right systems in place to protect the residents and we are working hard.

'We know that testing is part of the solution, part of that equation that balances the life of people so they don't have Covid with that psychological and emotional wellbeing that we're seeing as of equal value.'

Care Home Relatives Scotland said many residents are being restricted to short patio or window visits, despite new rules announced recently by the Health Secretary.

Ms Russell said: 'It doesn't seem to have made much difference.

'Some care home groups say they're not moving to the new guidance.'  

Ms Russel has called on care home visitors to be granted 'essential caregiver' status, with access to rapid testing and infection control training.    

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