Families of East Kilbride care home residents say there is “light at the end of the tunnel” as visiting restrictions ease.
Indoor visiting of Lanarkshire’s care home residents by relatives, friends and carers is set to resume this week – that allows residents to have up to two separate designated visitors once a week.
The move follows the Scottish Government guidance ‘Open with Care’ to support the reintroduction of “meaningful family contact” in care homes.
Natasha Hamilton's mum, Anne, is in a care home in East Kilbride, with the 62-year-old former care worker suffering from early on-set dementia. The family’s efforts to gain access to her led to the creation of the Anne’s Law campaign, which aims to ensure the rights of care home residents’ to see their loved ones.
Natasha welcomes the latest developments, but says a ‘postcode lottery’ exists for residents.
She said: “Through the Care Home Relatives Scotland campaign we have heard that rules differ.
“Mum’s home are following the government’s guidelines to the tee.
“But in some homes it can be an hour or half-hour visits, whilst elsewhere relatives are getting unlimited access to their relative’s room – then in others, staff are watching any interaction in an open room.
“The type of interaction and meaningful contact that residents are getting shouldn’t be a postcode lottery in terms of where they are.
“No matter which provider their loved ones are with, we should all have the same access to our families.”
From this week, visitors will need to wear a fluid-resistant surgical mask, to be provided by the home, and wear any additional PPE requested by care staff.
Visitors will also be strongly encouraged to take a COVID test on-site and some homes may still be restricted, primarily in the event of an outbreak at a care home.
Elaine Dewar’s mum, Betty, is in a council-run home in East Kilbride and she welcomed the chance to visit her again.
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Betty contracted COVID during the second wave last year, along with husband Ian who was in the same home – Ian sadly died following complications from the virus.
Elaine, from Stewartfield, said: “The care home have been fantastic, they have gone above and beyond what is expected. The staff have been putting themselves on the line.
“But the biggest thing that has come out of the pandemic is the affect on mental health and how badly it’s been affected.
“The latest news is hope that mum can not only see me or my brother, but one day soon, possibly her grandson and granddaughter again.
“It’s been hard, but I understand why homes have had to do what they have to keep everyone safe and hopefully with the vaccine things can get back on track.
“There is hope again.”