Leeds care homes all set for emotional reunions as restrictions ease to allow more family to visit

Leeds care homes can now welcome more family members in to visit loved ones after the latest easing of coronavirus restrictions - paving the way for long-awaited reunions among families kept apart throughout the pandemic.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:45 pm

The number of designated visitors has now increased from two to five per resident in the latest relaxation of rules which came into force today, Monday May 17, in the third stage of the country’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Residents can also now leave care homes for a greater variety of activities - such as visiting day centres - without having to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.

Jodie Boucher, manager of Carr Croft care home in Meanwood and chairwoman of Leeds’ registered managers’ network, said the latest lifting of restrictions would make a “real difference” to her residents’ - and families’ - well-being.

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Family members hold hands during an earlier reunion at Aspen Hill Village Care Home in Hunslet. Picture: PA

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The new rules mean residents can now have up to five named visitors - with a maximum of two at any one time, not including very young children.

Jodie said: “It’s really important because limiting it has almost broken families. Where you can only have one named individual and lots of people have three/four children - it can cause upset with the families. Who gets to see them?”

She said being able to welcome grandchildren into the home will be a huge step for residents.

Jodie Boucher, manager of Carr Croft Care Home in Meanwood.

“People in my home love kids and ones that have got dementia seem to come alive when they see children. They remember how to nurture and care for them. It’s really lovely to see.”

And she said being allowed to visit more places outside of the home is also a welcome move.

“They need it. They need it for their vitamin D, for their mental health, for their physical health.

“Things like that will make a real difference to their well-being,” she said.

But she added: “I think though there is still a lot of unease with the Indian variant. Some of my relatives are still very afraid - afraid of passing something on or of taking them out.”

Navjot Singh, director at Aspen Hill Village Care Home in Hunslet said they have worked hard at keeping all family members in contact with their loved ones throughout the pandemic - using technology such as Skype with those unable to visit in person - so being able to now welcome them into the home is a “great initiative”.

“It will improve their well-being - especially their mental health. Rather than just having two members who can come they can now have five. That could be grandchildren, daughters, sons. Especially with extended families. They can now come and visit and take time out.

“Obviously the challenge remains that people who have dementia and have relatives coming, it’s going to be very difficult to reintegrate them back in - that will take time.”

And he said being able to leave the home will allow residents to feel part of the outside world once again.

“I think it’s a significant move in that the residents will be able to access activities both at the home and outside the home.

“They will also be able to come into contact with the community - the community they live in, and that is really important,” he said.

Both Jodie and Navjot praised their staff for their hard work and dedication to residents throughout the pandemic.

Navjot said: “The staff have made a large amount of sacrifices. They have battled through this pandemic and given everything they possibly can. I think they are the unsung heroes and have all gone above and beyond the call of duty to save lives.”

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