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Recipient profile picture Boris Johnson
25 October
Dear Boris Johnson,
I am writing to ask you to take the time to watch the short film on Channel Four called 'Help'. It stars Jodie Comer as a care home worker and gives a horrific glimpse into the lives of care home workers and residents during the pandemic. The Covid 19 pandemic was not something anyone could have predicted. It was utterly terrifying and knocked everyone off their feet. Perhaps, as you had only been Prime Minister for four months, you were caught out. A bit like a deer in headlights. However, saying this, there were no excuses under the sun for how care homes, their residents and workers, were treated in this time. They seemed to be pushed to the side, brushed helplessly under the rug. The film 'Help' focuses specifically on a dementia care home in Liverpool. In England, two thirds of residents in UK care homes have dementia. In 2020, 73, 766 people died from Covid 19 and studies showed that 25% of those people had Alzheimer's disease or another disease which can cause dementia. In 2020, the top two leading causes of death were Covid 19 at number one and dementia and Alzheimer's at number two. Surely, this shows you how dementia and Alzheimer's residents in care homes needed more than what they received in the height of the pandemic. With Alzheimer's being such a big and traumatising killer, these people should have been given the most support. Instead, they, and workers, were left in the dark. On April 23rd, as you are aware, you made the decision to send England into lockdown. On top of this, you said families were not to visit loved ones in care homes unless the loved one was dying. In hindsight, if residents with dementia were able to see their loved ones, they might not have suffered so much. I spoke to the manager of a care home who told me that residents with dementia were sent into his care home without being tested properly. Why was this allowed to happen? It seemed as if their lives were not valued as much. As 'Help' depicts so well, residents with dementia could not understand the pandemic. The confused and empty looks on their faces as their family could not come in the room is haunting. I know my own nan who has Alzheimer still does not understand it. It was hard for them to process why their family could not hold them, could not play games with them, could not share a cup of tea or more importantly could not reminisce about the past. The loss of quality time was shocking. Surely, this was not the right choice? Surely, families should have been allowed to maintain much needed visible communication with their loved ones. My friend worked in a care home during the pandemic. She told me that residents were isolated into one room if they were thought to have Covid. I cannot even bare to imagine how upsetting this was for the resident, workers and family. But did you think about this? On top of this isolation, care home workers had to deal with a enormous shortage of PPE. In 'Help', Jodie Comer is seen using a bin bag as a gown. This is not a position care home workers should have been put in. They must have felt as if they were putting residents at risk even though it was no fault of their own. It is ironic, that only since December, you have pushed for the protection of the most vulnerable in care homes. The vaccine has been an amazing achievement, and I must applaud you for your work on the roll out. However, there was not this urgency when care homes were suffering. So, I would like to urge you to watch 'Help'. Although nothing that has happened is changeable, accountability is possible. For you, and your cabinet, to apologise for the lack of attention you paid to care homes would be appreciated by millions of families across the UK. My nan was not in a care home during the pandemic. However, due to the lack of contact I had with her I lost parts of her that I will never get back. Again, this is the same for too many families. I also hope that you are never in the position in which you have to watch your loved one slowly change into a silhouette of themselves and to be in a totally helpless position. Unfortunately, this was the case for millions. Regards, Megan


Author profile picture Megan

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