Actress Ruthie Henshall detailed the impact of the spending lockdown in a nursing home on her mother during the lockdown as she campaigned for visitation to become a legal right.
The 54-year-old actress was speaking on Good Morning Britain on Tuesday when she described how her mother Gloria, 87, had deteriorated during her stay at her nursing home.
Ruthie said: ‘Before the lockdown she was walking and talking, had a full conversation the day before my father died.
“What does he have left besides touching?” Ruthie Henshall, 54, spoke on GMB on Tuesday about her mother’s decline after living in a nursing home during lockdown – as she campaigns to make visits a ‘legal right’
“When the restrictions were put in place, for four months she was alone in her nursing home… She couldn’t walk, couldn’t speak, her food had to be boiled, her drinks had to be thickened.
“You expect some form of deterioration, but not like that.
Ruthie appeared on the show to talk about the Rights For Residents campaign group to lobby the government to make nursing home visits a legal right.
She said that as an essential caregiver, she currently has good access to her mother in her nursing home.
There for her: Ruthie has been classified as a critical caregiver for her mother, meaning she is allowed to visit her in her nursing home
“But for others,” she says, “it’s a zip code lottery. Some nursing homes do not follow the guidelines out of fear.
“As far as I’m concerned, where are the human rights of the inhabitants? There are people who have not seen their loved ones for 14 months.
Ruthie also said she did not understand why caregivers are allowed to enter the rooms of several patients and then return home and see their families, but her sisters are not allowed to spend an extended period with her mother .
She said: ‘My sisters are visited every three, four weeks for half an hour. It’s not meaningful behind the screen, my mom has no idea what’s going on.
Together again: As an essential caregiver, Ruthie said she has access to her mother again
“I think I’m safer, I’m going straight to my mom’s room… she needs to be touched.” She can’t sleep, she can’t walk, she needs to be fed… what is left for her besides touching?
“We all know that after being deprived of human contact for over a year, we know how important it is.
Despite her mother’s decline, Ruthie said caregivers at the home told her that ‘the light has returned’ in her mother’s eye after she was able to visit him.
Naddra Ahmmed, the president of the National Care Association, also appeared on the show and said the well-being of nursing home residents is at the center of everything they do.
Postal Code Lottery: Despite being an essential caregiver for her mother, Ruthie said not everyone is so lucky and therefore cannot visit loved ones in nursing homes.
She said: ‘We are following the instructions given to us, and if you read the instructions it is very clear that they are resting on the shoulders of the supplier to ensure all the security mechanisms that need to be in place before facilitating all visits.
“And I think most providers try to do it where possible.
Speaking to the Mirror, Ruthie also revealed that after being named an essential caregiver, she took a before and after photo showing the day she walked in to visit her mother, and five weeks later.
She said her mom looked 10 years younger in this latest photo.
This is not the first time that Ruthie has spoken about visitation rights in nursing homes.
In February, she said she would ‘fight for the right’ to see her mother with dementia in her care home after a heartbreaking call from Facetime.
She said her 80-year-old mother Gloria ‘never said a word or even smiled’ during the call – as she vowed to keep pushing for people to be allowed to surrender visiting elderly relatives in care homes during the lockdown.
Henshall told his Twitter followers: ‘I had a Facetime with my mom Gloria today. She never said a word or even smiled. I’m going to UKTN News and ITV News this week to fight for the right to see my mom.
Campaign: Ruthie appeared on Good Morning Britain to support the Rights for Residents campaign group