Actress Henshall criticises care home Covid restrictions after mother’s death

Actress Ruthie Henshall has criticised coronavirus restrictions which “kept out love and hope” after her elderly mother died in a care home.

The West End star said not allowing visits from loved ones was “totally unnecessary” and “utterly inhumane”.

Since last Tuesday, residents leaving their home to go for a walk or to visit a loved one’s garden no longer have to isolate for two weeks on their return.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) removed the requirement for only outdoor, “low-risk” visits after being threatened with legal action by the charity John’s Campaign.

Ms Henshall announced her 88-year-old mother’s death on Instagram on Tuesday.

She wrote: “My beautiful mummy Gloria passed away very peacefully early this morning.

“I managed to care for her for a few short weeks. It was my honour and my privilege.

“If the government had made their guidance law my sisters would have seen her more than a couple of times before losing her.

“Even recently my sister Susan was doing window visits because she wasn’t able to get an indoor visit for 3 weeks.

“Shame on every government official and care home provider that decided to ignore residents’ human rights and just batten down the hatches.

“You kept out love and hope.

Coronavirus – Tue May 4, 2021
Ms Henshall joined protesters in Parliament Square last week (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“I am devastated. I hope it was worth the cost to keep them behind locked doors.”

Under the rule changes, residents on visits out must be accompanied by either a member of staff or one of their two nominated visitors, and follow social distancing throughout.

They cannot meet in groups or go indoors, except for the use of toilets, and public transport should be avoided where possible.

It is understood a resident would be able to eat outside at a restaurant or cafe with their care worker or nominated visitor if they agree this with the care home in advance.

Ms Henshall joined a group of campaigners in Parliament Square last week to deliver a petition calling for all care home residents to have the right to an essential visitor in the event of another wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which was signed by more than 300,000 people.

Referring to her sister Susan’s inability to visit her mother before her death, she said: “This was completely and totally unnecessary.

“Utterly inhumane to these beautiful residents who are not really living much of a life.”