Indoor visits

A daughter has spoken of her joy at finally being able to visit her elderly mum inside a Longlands care home again – 12 months after indoor visits were stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Julia Evans was one of the first people to return to Longlands after the home resumed visits this week, as per recent Government guidance.

She visited her 94-year-old mum Ethel Stephenson, who has been a resident at Longlands for two years.

The pair were able to speak and hold hands, with Ethel declaring it “marvellous” and saying that she “never thought it would happen.”

And it was just as emotional for Julia who said: “Being able to see and talk to mum again whilst holding her hand gave me pure elation.

“Mum is blind, so the last 12 months have been torture for her and although I have been able to speak to her on the phone, it was difficult because she us hard of hearing too.

“But being so close to her in a room inside made such a difference. I left her on such a positive note, and I have already booked my next visit.”

Before she could see her mum, Julia had to follow procedures put in place by Longlands and which followed Government guidance.

This meant being given a rapid flow testing kit at the entrance to Longlands and then taking it around the back of the home to the visitor pod which was opened before Christmas. Here, she self-administered the test after following instructions from staff and waited in the room for 30 minutes until it returned a negative result.

Julia then returned to the front door to put on a mask, plastic gloves, and apron before being led a few yards where the new visiting room has been set up.

She added: “I would have done anything and waited all day to see mum, but everything was so well organised, and the staff were brilliant.

“They were just as happy as me that visits were happening again, and it was wonderful to see everyone again.”

Tina Kendall, Manager of Longlands Care Home, said: “Care home visits indoors were permitted from 8th March, but we wanted to ensure we had everything in place to ensure we kept residents, families and staff safe.

“The visits started this week, and we couldn’t be happier with how they are going. It is lovely to be able to welcome family members back into Longlands and see them being reunited with their loved ones.

“It’s been a very tough year for everyone, but staff and residents have now had their first vaccinations, with the second ones now also underway, so with the visits now also happening, we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

After each visit, the visiting room at Longlands is thoroughly cleaned before the next visitor is admitted. The visitor pod, which enables people to see and speak to their loved ones via a screen/microphone is also still being used.

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