Care home residents and staff have isolated since the beginning of the pandemic, but with things returning to a new equilibrium.
Since March 8th, visitors have been allowed in care homes. Residents have been welcoming one guest for regular visits and now, since April 12th more family members are allowed.
The Office for National Statistics revealed that for the week of January 8th, more than 25,000 people have died from coronavirus in care homes across the UK since the pandemic began.
Matt Hancock, health and social care secretary, said: “I know how painful it has been for those in care homes not being able to receive visits from their loved ones throughout this period.”
With visitors allowed once again, whether indoors, outdoors, visiting pods or behind windows, many care home residents have been delighted.
Lynne Westworth, a care home worker, said:
“The lifting of restrictions will be so good for the residents and their families. They have not seen each other in so long and it affects their mental health.
“Even those that are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, to have one to one contact with a loved one can do so much for the well-being of that resident- who have not been able to understand what Covid and the lockdowns have meant, and for the families that thought they might not see their loved one again, it’s the most amazing thing to happen to them.”
Nationally, care homes across England closed to visitors from March 23rd, 2020. With the rise in COVID-19 cases and the infection rate evident, the UK Government called for a national lockdown.
PM Boris Johnson announced that everyone should stay at home and called for all un-essential businesses to close. Despite coronavirus cases still rising, the number of infections is falling, and the vaccination programme has seen every care home resident offered the jab, with over 43 million vaccinations carried out so far.
Adam Sandham, 36, who has worked for a variety of care homes throughout the past 12 months, said the cleaning regimes have increased with more personal protective equipment and all touch surfaces required to be cleaned every half hour.
Mr Sandham added:
“I would get frustrated when residents were passing away, as families weren’t allowed in.”
According to the Government’ roadmap out of lockdown, after June 21st there will be no legal limits on social contact, including that within care homes.