What are my rights as a live-in carer to shield my Mother?

As the son and primary carer of my 81 year old Mother who is completely bed/chair bound with mixed dementia after suffering SAH last November (she was fully capable before that), I really need to know what my rights are in so far as shielding her from Covid now that a second wave seems imminent. More specifically I’d like to know if I am able to stop our current free package of care (forced upon us following recent short stay in hosp) as I am deeply concerned about either myself or her getting Covid now that the ‘r’ rate is well above 1 again, with asymptomatic transmission being a very real possibility.

Although my Mother now has an extremely high degree of needs, I decided early on to commit to caring fully for her (quitting my job in the process) and learning as much as possible about how to fulfil my new role as her primary carer. I am now happy to say that I can and do everything for her, including stoma bag changing/emptying, catheter care, dressing and personal hygiene. She has given full consent for me to take care of all these things and has made it clear to both myself and our social workers that she is happy for me to continue doing these things for her on a daily basis. Fortunately she is of slight build and I have no problem assisting her moving on the bed as required to fulfil these duties.

So this is where I am starting to have problems -
Our social worker(s) have assessed my Mother as being incapacitated and incapable of making her own decisions (I am not happy with this decision and believe it to be ill-founded and wrong) and insisted on carers coming in to take over washing/changing and hoisting my Mother into her special chair on a daily basis when I now feel the need to want to start shielding her (and myself) from any unnecessary outside visits due to Covid. Although the carers are generally very pleasant and come in wearing face masks, I myself deem their twice a day visits to not be necessary at this time when Covid is on the rise again as I am fully willing and able to take care of all of my Mother’s needs myself including personal hygiene and hoisting her into her chair for her daily sit outs (as recommended by doctor on last discharge from hospital). I have even had 2 social services OT’s come round to assess me using the hoist singlehandedly and they approved me as being safe to lift out and return Mum to bed on my own, saying that I had demonstrated to them I did everything correctly when lifting my Mother in front of them here at home.

At this point I should add that my Mother has been assessed as being of in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category for Covid shielding as she has COPD and I DO NOT want the carers coming here any more while Covid is on the up again as I feel pretty sure it would kill my Mother should she catch it. I want to be able to shield her fully again as I managed to do from March thru to early August before she was admitted to hospital with a nasty chest infection. And, of course, I want to shield myself too for obvious reasons.

Of course I will be happy to allow in district nurses on essential routine visits to do catheter changes, bladder washouts and bedsore checks etc (all gone now thanks to OLA 7 matress-they are brill!). Even the nurses themselves say how well my Mother ‘presents’ to them when they visit and have affirmed to me I am doing a great job of caring for her in every sense.

So what I guess I really want to know is what EXACTLY are my rights as a son and primary carer of my Mother in being able to refuse outside care which I deem to be unnecessary (care that I am more than able to do myself) in these times of Covid?? Obviously I don’t want to cause any friction with social workers or the care team themselves, but I really feel I have a right as primary carer of my Mother to be able to decide if I want to shield her and myself from the very real possibility of asymptomatic transmission of Covid to us by anyone visiting our house, including social workers themselves.

Basically, do I have the right to be able to refuse social workers and carers entry to my house (during Covid) even though I have already demonstrated I am fully able to care for my Mother? Or will I face some kind of prosecution if I refuse them entry or do they even have the right to force entry into our abode and maybe even take my mother away forcibly and put her in a home against our wishes? How nasty can these social service people actually really get? Because right now I am not getting great vibes from them!

Thanks for taking the time to read. I am a brand new member here and really care for and love my Mother. I am a single guy with no real friends (I’m pretty shy and introvert by nature) and she is all I have, the most precious person in the world to me!

We live in SE London/NW Kent area, UK.

I also posted this in the introductions forum by mistake, I am so sorry!

Since this is all new ground in almost every respect, I’m not sure if we as carers have any “rights” for anything specific right now, not as such. The Coronavirus Act had a lot in it about packages for care, but if I recall it was more about providing for new people coming under social care than how to adapt with those currently with a care package, and most local authorities didn’t action the act anyway. So I’m really not sure if there are any COVID specific rights just now.

However, I personally think you should have every right to protect your mother. Are you paid as her carer at all? With Direct Payments/Personal Health Budgets etc?

A big part of the ethos of providing care with Direct Payments especially, is to ensure a healthy and safe home environment which obviously you can only do in this situation by keeping outsiders at bay. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to request that any non essential visits should be postponed, but not cancelled.

My only concern for you would be that social services will potentially turn around at a later date and say “well, you managed to care for her on your own during COVID so she/you obviously won’t mind if we cut your care package to the bone.” Cuts are going to be bigger and deeper than ever after the dust has settled on this, so it might be wise to just make sure you’re clear (probably best to keep all contact via email for a paper trail) that it will be a struggle by yourself, but you intend to manage alone in the short term to do what you can to ensure your mother’s safety/wellbeing during the pandemic.

I will say I have a number of friends/family members who are themselves, or who have relatives, who are receiving care calls 2-4 times a day and had done throughout the pandemic, and so far they’ve all avoided it, even being extremely high risk and very elderly in some cases. But I completely get where you’re coming from, the only way you can truly guarantee protection is to keep everyone else out.