A woman in Edinburgh was tragically forced to stand outside and watch through patio doors as care home staff comforted and cared for her mother in her final moments. Gillian Duncan spoke about her heart-wrenching experience during the Scottish Covid-19 Inquiry. Despite both of her parents, suffering from Alzheimer's, contracting Covid-19 during the lockdown, Mrs. Duncan's mother was told she could not go to the hospital. Instead, her symptoms were treated with paracetamol and end-of-life medication, leaving Mrs. Duncan feeling helpless and distraught.
In April 2020, Mrs. Duncan received a call from a nurse at the care home who informed her that her mother was nearing the end of her life. Desperate to be with her, she rushed to the care home but was prohibited from going inside. Despite this, Mrs. Duncan peered through the patio doors into her mother's room, hoping that her presence would provide some comfort.
With tears streaming down her face, Mrs. Duncan described the heart-wrenching scene of her mother lying in bed with her eyes closed, while nurses and carers lovingly held her hands and stroked her hair. In an attempt to communicate with her mom, Mrs. Duncan wrote notes in her car expressing her love and presence, hoping her mother could somehow sense her there.
Devastatingly, Mrs. Duncan's mother passed away just moments before her sister arrived at the care home. Unable to be there for her mother's final moments, they found solace in each other's company in the garden, sobbing as they were unable to comfort each other due to Covid-19 restrictions. Moreover, they could only catch glimpses of their father through the glass of his neighboring room.
Reflecting on her experience, Mrs. Duncan expressed her anger towards the care home's handling of the situation and the Scottish Government's decisions regarding care home residents. She believed that they faced a double tragedy—being unprotected during the early days of the virus and then essentially being imprisoned once the government realized their mistakes.
The cause of Mrs. Duncan's mother's death was recorded as both Covid-19 and Alzheimer's, and tragically, her father also passed away on Christmas Day of the same year from Alzheimer's. Mrs. Duncan's emotional testimony serves as a reminder of the immense sacrifices and devastation endured by families dealing with the pandemic's impact on care homes.