Huge step forward as vaccine is rolled out
Allowing care home visits has been hailed as a “big step forward” by Age Scotland.
The Scottish Government announced that routine indoor visiting of care home residents by relatives, friends and carers will be able to resume from early March.
Guidelines to support care providers resume visiting will be available on 24 February and residents will be able to have up to two designated visitors each and one visit a week for each visitor.
Age Scotland's chief executive Brian Sloan said: “It is great news that routine indoor care home visits will soon resume and for many residents and family members it can’t come quick enough. This is a big step forward.
“For the best part of a year residents in care homes have largely been cut off from meaningful contact with loved ones and its impact on their health and wellbeing has been significant.
"Hearing family members talk of the noticeable deterioration in the condition of their loved one and that they feel they are slipping away before them is heart-breaking.
“Now that the vaccine is showing its effectiveness it is another important layer of protection from Covid-19. And while on its own it is not the panacea, together with the highest standards of infection control, use of PPE and regular, fast testing of people coming into a care home it means the risks are minimised and safer visiting can happen.”
Scotland's health secretary Jeane Freeman said while protection was in place, people must remain "vigilant about the risks".
As well as wearing PPE, visitors will be "strongly encouraged" to take a Covid test before entering homes.
Visiting may be restricted in certain circumstances, for instance if there is a Covid outbreak in a care home.
Cathie Russell, a member of Care Home Relatives Scotland, said restricting family from seeing relatives was the wrong policy.
"I believe the strategy was always wrong - we are not just footfall. It's very important for people in care to see the people they love most and at least one essential care-giver should always have been available to them."