Local care home owner says visiting announcement doesn’t go far enough

It has today been announced that care home residents will be able to be visited indoors by a single named individual from the 8th March as part of the Prime Minister’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions.

The scheme will allow a single visitor to hold hands indoors with their relative or contact in a care home, and make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions to keep residents, staff and visitors safe.

Visitors will be required to have a test before entry and wear PPE whilst on site.

Jonathan Cunningham of Birkdale Park Nursing Home said:

“At Birkdale Park Nursing Home in Southport visiting has never stopped.

“We currently permit face to face visiting for multiple visitors. Hugging and hand holding is always permitted – yet we have never seen an outbreak within our care home!

“The recent announcement is of course welcome.

“It has always been an abhorrent situation that these lovely people have been excluded from having meaningful visiting.

“Many care homes used the situation to close their doors; COVID says NO! This was never acceptable and I have campaigned for care homes opening up for some time.

“But the measures don’t go far enough and should include at least two relatives permitted to visit and should allow ‘hugging as well as hand holding’.

“This is a cautious start but we must see this opening up rapidly and safely.”

Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum said:

“The National Care Forum welcomes the government commitment to put care home visiting front and centre of the road map for recovery. The NCF, working in partnership with all those passionate about care, have been raising the urgent need to reconnect people with their loved ones for many, many months now, and whilst the overall approach to visiting has incrementally moved forward, it is hugely important that this next step recognises the role of essential caregivers and ensures that people living within care homes have regular, sustained and meaningful contact with one of the most important people in their lives.

“NCF will continue to support our membership in moving as quickly as possible to implement these changes, and we call on the government to work with the sector to ensure that homes have all the support and resource needed to make this a reality for the hundreds and thousands of people living within care. Homes are communities, and relatives have always been an essential part of that community, having them back at the heart of care most definitely feels like an important junction on the roadmap.”

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