Social Visits to Rampton High Secure Hospital remain suspended until further notice. On 13 June, 2020, the first Virtual Carers and Families event took place via MS Teams. New ways to engage with Social Visitors at the Hosptial are currently being considered.
How is life impacting on visitors? Lorna Breckell, Family and Volunteer Support Manager at Rampton Hospital – asked a relative for his thoughts
How life has changed for you since the pandemic and lockdown?
Since the beginning of the lockdown I have not been able to work. I have tried to use the huge increase in free time constructively while keeping a balance between working on the home and leisure.
The most difficult aspect by far is not being able to spend time face to face with family and friends. Sometimes it is not until something is taken away that we realise how important it is to us.
How has the government restrictions impacted on your relationship with your relative?
Not being able to visit my brother in hospital has been very difficult. I have made extra effort to write to him regularly, but it is obviously a one way communication and is no substitute for sitting with him for a chat over a cup of tea. I do worry about him as he tells me his off ward activities have been cancelled and that he spends all his time in his room which has led to him putting on weight.
What has helped you in this time?
For me personally keeping some discipline and structure to my days helps. I have cleared a lot of jobs at home some of which have been on the list for a long time. I have also spent a lot of time cycling in the virtual world on Zwift and have made huge gains in fitness and performance.
The limited amount of information that the Hospital has shared with us was certainly better than nothing, though I have felt very isolated and unsure how my brother is. I try and resist phoning the Ward regularly because I am sure they are busy enough without fielding calls. The planned virtual Social Visitors Event will be great for finding out more about what is going on at the moment.