Monday 8 March saw the starting point for the first of many lockdown restrictions begin to ease, including the much-missed visits from loved ones into care homes.
Under the new Government guidelines, care homes across the country have been advised every resident will be able to have one named visitor to come and visit them on a regular basis at their care home. For the first time in many months this will mean the designated person will be able to hold hands with loved ones at the home – the return of a long overdue pleasure.
Back in March 2020, all care homes across the country were asked to shut their doors to help protect residents and staff from contracting and spreading Covid-19. The only visitors allowed into care homes at this time were staff and health care professionals, meaning families had to use other means of contact to be able to see their loved ones, such as video calling, social media or window visits.
Avante staff saw the emotional impact this had on relatives and friends of residents, who would often visit their loved ones daily before the lockdown was introduced and made it their priority to ensure families remained in contact and felt connected with their loved ones. Recently the homes had external visitor cabins built at every care home location, all fitted out with furniture, heating and lighting and a perspex screen separating the cabin into two areas for residents and visitors.
Though these means of contact have been warmly welcomed by families and the use of the visitor cabins has supported families to keep in contact, the recent introduction of a designated visitor to be allowed back into care homes is a welcome start for bringing people together again and reinstating the much-needed contact relatives and residents have missed for so long.
To ensure everyone is kept safe, the designated visitor will have to wear PPE and will be tested by using Lateral Flow Device testing for Covid-19 before the visit can take place.
Residents from Riverdale Court and Pilgrims View were one of the first of Avante’s care homes to welcome relatives into the home. Resident Joan and Daughter Jay enjoyed their first visit together last week at Pilgrims View,
Jay said ‘It has been worth the wait just to see her mum face to face smiling and to hold her hand. Its been an emotional visit but in a lovely way. It’s just so good to see mum in person again’