The wife of an elderly man with dementia has opened up about her struggle to access respite care due to ongoing self-isolation rules.
Fran Giblin, 72, provides unpaid care for her husband John, 78, who has advanced vascular dementia.
The Kirriemuir resident said she is “desperate” for respite after caring for her husband throughout the pandemic.
But Mrs Giblin was told her husband could not access respite care in a care home unless he was put into isolation during his temporary stay.
It comes after more than 1,300 patients across Scotland were discharged from hospital into care homes before testing was introduced last year.
Hundreds of care home residents died and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has since admitted moving them into homes was “a mistake”.
Now, those wishing to be admitted to a care home may still have to isolate.
National guidance says in areas under Level 0-2 restrictions, a risk assessment should be carried out by the care home manager on a case by case basis.
This determines whether the resident should isolate for 14 days on admission to the care home.
But it has left carers making a difficult decision over whether to put their loved ones in respite care, knowing they will be in isolation during the stay.
Mrs Giblin contacted Angus Council’s community mental health service to ask for respite care following John’s return from hospital after collapsing in their home.
However, she was told that he would need to isolate in his care home room.
“I am desperate for some respite,” said Mrs Giblin.
“As an unpaid carer, I am on my own.
“My issue was the fact that he has had double jabs and they get a test before you go in.
“So they walk in and they’re completely negative.”
Mrs Giblin also pointed out that her husband attends a day centre, where he is not required to isolate.
An Angus Council spokesperson said a risk assessment is now required for admissions, following a recent change in guidelines.
“We cannot comment publicly on individual cases but I can advise that there was a recent change in guidance, and the requirement to isolate for 14 days from admission is now based on a multi-agency risk assessment overseen and agreed by the care home manager,” they said.
“A negative test result is still required before admission.
“The change in guidance has also allowed for flexibility when the care home manager is completing a risk assessment on whether a service user must isolate when admitted.
“Managers can now take into account in their decision the ability of the person to isolate.”