Reunion joy as care homes open their doors for visitors

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Enid, 81, had been restricted to three designated visitors including son Tim.

But after Covid curbs were lifted, the family met up again at Wentworth Court nursing home in Cheltenham. Steph, 58, said: “I was really overwhelmed. I was just beginning to wonder whether or not she would still recognise me.

“We are quite a close family. I really missed her.”

Steph, who said Enid had recognised her, added: “Hopefully I can get back to seeing her each week now.” Home boss Gez Ossai described the reunion as “extremely emotional” as Enid had not seen Steph for three months.

He added: “Relatives support what we do. They understand our aim is to keep their loved ones as safe as we possibly can because they are the most vulnerable.”

Wentworth Court caters for people living with dementia, for whom social contact is vital. Mr Ossai said staff did their best to ensure residents’ lives were as full and meaningful as possible while Covid restrictions were in place.

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The home will follow national guidelines in the event of another outbreak. But Mr Ossai added: “We fully understand that as a society we have to learn to live with Covid-19. The only thing we can do is be as safe as possible and look after people as well as we possibly can. We have to allow our residents to live their lives to the fullest.”

The Government says residents of care homes in England are now able to have unlimited visits.

However, homes experiencing Covid outbreaks have been unable to lift restrictions immediately. And there are concerns other care sites may continue to restrict visits or may not have enough staff to cope with increased visitors.

Jenny Morrison, co-founder of Rights for Residents, said the campaign group “remained fearful” for residents in homes which have not followed previous guidance on relaxing visiting restrictions.

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