Families Will Now Be Allowed To Be With Covid Victims In Their Final Moments
At a press conference on Wednesday, Matt Hancock said the government would be working with Public Health England (PHE) to introduce measures so loved ones could make a final visit, while limiting the risk of infection.
The Health Secretary stated that wanting to be beside a loved on in their final moments was "one of the deepest human instincts".
Currently, some hospitals and care homes are banning family members from seeing their gravely ill relatives due to fears of spreading the virus.
It comes as response to a rising death toll in care homes and reports of patients dying with no one relatives beside them.
"Wanting to be with someone you love at the end of their life is one of the deepest human instincts and it's a moment that will be with you forever," Hancock said.
"Done right, it can help those left behind to cope and it brings comfort to those who are dying.
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"Coronavirus, of course, has made this much more difficult, and I've been really moved and upset by some of the heartbreaking stories of people dying without a loved one nearby."
Hancock said that with the help of PHE, the government is "introducing new procedures so we can limit the risk of infection while wherever possible giving people's closest loved ones the chance to say goodbye."
This will include protective PPE for staff, allowing one visitor at a time, ensuring hygiene of visitors and other measures.
Hancock admitted he wept at the case of a 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, who died without his parents by his bedside.
As a father of a 13-year-old himself, Hancock said: "The sight of his coffin being lowered into a grave without a member of his family being present was too awful."
Similarly, in one care home in Buckinghamshire, the wife of a dying man who was not allowed to be with her husband in his final moments passed some of her perfume to a care worker to place under his chin to evoke a memory.
Published on Wednesday, revised guidance by the care home sector said that while relatives should limit unnecessary visits, "we are clear that visits at the end of life are important both for the individual and their loved ones and should continue".
Featured Image Credit: Unsplash
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