Heartache of care homes during Covid pandemic brought to Fringe 

Amanda Mackenzie Stuart wrote a play inspired by her experience of her husband falling ill and going into a care home during lockdown.

Covid in care homes: Heartache of pandemic brought to stage in ‘Lizzie on the Fence’ at Edinburgh Fringe  STV News

A new play drawing on the real-life experiences of loved ones being separated from care home residents during the Covid-19 pandemic made its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Amanda Mackenzie Stuart’s show ‘Lizzie on the Fence’ was inspired by her own experience of her husband becoming ill during lockdown and having to go into a care home when various visiting restrictions were put in place; which kept loved ones locked out and residents isolated.

“It derived from the last few months of his life and only being able to see him through the care home fence,” Amanda told STV News.

“I started writing it when he was alive and he died in December 2020. I began to realise for lots of people this kind of experience was just going on and on.

“It was a terrible time. He had dementia, so had had to come out with a carer.

“It was difficult, but I think other people had it more difficult and sometimes I think I was lucky to even have the fence.”

Two Doors Down actor and comedian Kieran Hodgson also starred in the play.

Two Doors Down actor Kieran Hodgson also starred in the play

He said: “It allows us to go back into a world that I think collectively we’ve all desperately tried to erase – which is the middle of the pandemic, the middle of difficult decisions being made by individuals and public bodies.

“And the legacy thereof for the care sector in the future and if another pandemic should unfortunately come upon us.”

The show was held at the Pleasance Courtyard on Sunday August 27 and was attended by many with lived experience, like Natasha Hamilton who co-founded the campaign group Care Home Relatives Scotland.

“I think its important the stories be told, we’ve been trying to do this for three years,” Natasha Hamilton from Care Home Relatives Scotland said.

The campaign group is spearheading ‘Anne’s Law’, in memory of Natasha’s mum who passed away in her care home during lockdown after long bouts of separation from her family.

The law would guarantee in future pandemics that every care home resident will have one designated carer to be with them at all times.

I’ts currently being debated as part of the Scottish Government’s National Care Service legislation, which has been pushed back and delayed numerous times.

But Natasha says families can’t wait any longer: “We got the direction in place, the bill is there but its been paused. We don’t know when its going to come into place. Its frustrating.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code