Care Home Calls Police After Wife Sneaked in to See her Dementia Suffering Husband

Care Home Calls Police After Wife Sneaked in to See her Dementia Suffering Husband after She Was Denied Access to Him.

A care home called the police when a woman who had been denied visits to her 83-year-old dementia suffering husband for eight months amid the Covid pandemic sneaked in to get him out.

Patricia Hodges, 75, used to visit her husband, Graham, daily at Wayside House in Bromsgrove, where he was being cared for with Lewy Body dementia. But her anguish at being prevented from seeing him from March to October, and a row over the care home fees, sparked an attempt to move him to another home, she said.

The incident on 28 October followed a dispute between the Hodges and the care home, which began with requests for visits being denied. It ended with the home’s owner being accused of “holding” Graham Hodges over missing fees, a claim the home strongly denies.

Wayside House had granted Patricia a visit the day before she tried to enter the home. It would have been the first time in 221 days that she had seen her husband. By then the family had booked a new home and they were fearful of further isolation in the second wave of the pandemic.

“I rang the doorbell and I wasn’t going to be let in,” said Patricia, describing how a handyman had left a side door open and she entered to get her husband out. She was confronted by the care home owner, Rakesh Kotecha, who warned she was a Covid risk and subsequently called the police. Officers eventually asked her to leave the building where she was staging an impromptu sit-in.

In the car park, the Hodges argued to police that the home was exceeding its rights. Officers spoke by phone to social services and other professionals, who said there was no reason not to let Graham leave. He was finally allowed to move the next day.

“When Graham came out to get into the wheelchair taxi, he let out a loud cheer and then started weeping when he saw Bethan [his daughter] and the grandchildren and told them he loved them all and would be able to give them a kiss now,” said Patricia.

Kotecha said staff and residents could not be put at risk for one family to be able to visit, and that strict visiting restrictions and policies were needed to keep the home Covid-free.

The dispute highlights a dilemma facing care homes being asked to balance infection control with the mental health of residents and their families.

Last week a woman was arrested when she tried to release her mother from a care home in Humberside which had also stopped normal visiting. MPs are set to debate the issue in parliament on Wednesday.


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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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