When you tell people that care homes/nursing homes/long-term care facilities ban family members or threaten to ban them or restrict the hours they can see their loved ones, people are either shocked, or they don’t believe you, or they think the family members deserve it for being troublemakers.
This is what I know for sure: care facilities hold all the cards, and very rarely do family members deserve to be banned or threatened. It’s all about power and control.
I was repeatedly threatened with being denied access to my mother as a direct result of advocating for better care for her. For the last 15 months of her life, my visits were restricted to between 1 and 3 p.m. when she was “asleep.” There’s no doubt this was abuse.
Cases such as mine are more commonplace than you might think. For example, Charlotte Williamson, who lives in the UK, was prompted to share her story after reading Rachel’s tale of being bullied and banned:
“It is a heartbreaking, and sadly, oh-too-familiar story. My Mother was in care homes for nearly nine years. When I read the list of 25 things that are considered abuse, I cried. Many of them were daily and ongoing and par for the course where she was. We as a family fought constantly to have them addressed. We were labeled a troublesome family from the start and constantly made to feel we had no right to complain on behalf of our mother. There was also the underlying fear she would suffer more as a result of our “interference.” Threats were made about her being moved or certain family members not being allowed to see her. This fear was exacerbated by an incident that happened to another person who was banned from seeing her mother for a year because she complained about an incident she witnessed that concerned our mother and another resident. It upset her so much that she complained about it, and that ended up with her being cruelly punished like that! Tragically, I did not learn about that until a long while afterwards and it was not possible to right the wrong that had been done to her and her mother. Her mother has since passed away, and so has mine, but I am haunted by many things I saw during those years.”
If you have had (or are having) a similar experience, please share it so that other family members are also encouraged to speak out. It’s the only way we are going to create change around this abusive practice.