Campaigners are challenging the government in the courts over restrictions on care home visits that they say are leaving thousands of people "dying of sadness."
They argue that suspending visits has a medical impact, particularly on the 70 percent of residents who have dementia, "with many suffering a rapid deterioration of their symptoms, and premature death."
The legal case is built on what they see as a gap between the guidance and the law, according to Leigh Day, their legal representatives.
Nicci Gerrard, the co-founder of John’s Campaign, said that for people with dementia family visits are like medicine or therapy.
Gerrard said that visitors are an essential part of the team of support.
"People with dementia are very precarious," she told NTD, an Epoch Times affiliate. "They need to be kept linked to the world."
She said: "There are people with dementia who have just been abandoned. They feel abandoned, and they feel punished, and they feel unloved—and that is shown by their increased agitation, their distress, the deterioration, their sense of being unloved, their increased death rates."
"Thousands and thousands of people are literally dying of sadness," she said.
Guidance 'Misstates the Law'They also reject the scientific basis for preventing visits in the name of infection control.
The legal challenge to the guidance was suspended while the government was revising the guidance. Those revisions did not go far enough for John's Campaign, however.
"In fact, care home providers are under a legal obligation in all areas to carry out individualised risk assessments," adding that lockdown laws provides a general exception for visits in care homes.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that they could not comment on any ongoing legal action.
A DHSC spokesperson said in a statement, “We know limiting visits in care homes has been incredibly difficult for many families, but our first priority remains the prevention of infections to protect the lives of vulnerable residents.
“We have introduced tightened infection prevention and control measures to enable visits to continue safely where possible, but have had to limit visiting in all but exceptional circumstances for areas with high rates of infection.”