A nursing home called the police when a woman who was denied access to her 83-year-old husband for eight months in the midst of the Covid pandemic sneaked him out.

Patricia Hodges, 75, used to visit her husband, Graham, daily at Wayside House in Bromsgrove, where he was receiving care for Lewy Body dementia. But she said that her suffering prevented her from seeing him from March to October, and the dispute over the fees led to an attempt to move him to another home.

The incident on October 28 came on the heels of a dispute between Hodges and the nursing home, which began to deny requests to visit. The homeowner ended up accusing the homeowner of “detaining” Graham Hodges for the missing drawings, which the house strongly denies.

Wayside House gave Patricia a visit the day before she tried to enter the house – the first in 221 days. By then, the family had booked a new home and feared further isolation in the second wave of the pandemic.

The disagreement highlights a dilemma facing care homes that are being asked to strike a balance between infection control and the mental health of residents and their families.

Last week it was a woman Arrested When she tried to release her mother from a foster home in Humberside she also stopped her regular visit. Representatives are due to debate the issue in Parliament on Wednesday.

“I rang the doorbell and he wouldn’t let me in,” said Patricia, describing how a skilled worker left an open side door and went in to get her husband out. She was confronted by the owner of the care home, Rakesh Kucica, who warned her of the danger of contracting the Covid virus, then called the police. The officers eventually asked her to leave the building where she was holding an impromptu sit-in.

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In the parking lot, Hodges argued to the police that the house was exceeding its rights. The 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 in the next day.

“When Graham got out to ride the wheelchair taxi, he shouted loudly and then started crying when he saw Petan. [his daughter] And the grandchildren have told them that he loves them all and that he will be able to give them a kiss now, ”said Patricia.

Kotecha said that employees and residents cannot be put at risk until one family can visit, and that strict visiting restrictions and policies are needed to keep the home Covid-free.

“Of course we would like to visit the families,” he said. “In the pre-Covid world, we had absolutely no restrictions on visiting hours.” He added that the house had now started allowing visits in a specially prepared room.

In June, Gethin Hodges, the inhabitant’s son, asked to visit his mother for five minutes. He wrote, “My father is very weak and I do not think he will have many months in front of him and this may be the last chance for my mother to see him.”

House replied that only end-of-life visits would be possible and offered to facilitate video calls. “What worries us is that if there is a second pandemic, then by reopening our doors too early,” she said. [we] The virus may be allowed into the house. “

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The dispute arose when Hodges refused to pay a 20% increase in fees which the home said reflected increased costs from Covid such as personal protective equipment.

In August, she became increasingly concerned about Graham’s welfare without visitors, and the family gave the house a month’s notice. Kotecha said he would not allow a residents’ health assessment to be carried out by the new home due to the £ 12,000 in fees owed. But he denied his family’s claim that he was trying to “detain” Graham until he received the payment.

“It is usual in the sector that another provider does not take a resident who has outstanding fees, because the new provider will not want him to end up in the same position,” he told the family.

Kotecha said money “was not an issue because the care and safety of our residents is first and foremost … moving from his home would not be in his interest because his health might deteriorate.”

Two weeks later, Kotecha notified the family that August’s notice was “finished” and that the house needed a new notice period to consider Graham’s relocation. The family said they presented this on October 1, but Kucica said he never received it. In late October, when the family said they would come to pick him up, the house said it still needed a notice period.

“We have written to the family on several occasions asking them to submit a renewed notice that would take care of this issue,” Kucica said. “They failed to do so. I sent them a reminder on October 6 stating that they still want to move. [their] Then my father needed to give notice, and there was no response. “

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The family said they consulted Worcestershire County Council Social Services and a lawyer advised that the homeowner had no right to detain him, if he was doing so. Graham has now moved into a new home and is in isolation before the visits begin.