Momentous day sees residents holding hands with loved ones after indoor visiting resumes in care homes throughout the country. 

ITV news attended Laurel Lodge on April 12th to capture the moment residents reunited with their loved ones.

April 12th 2021 marked a step towards a return to normality for the UK, with the opening of shops, restaurants and public houses. It is also a day staff and residents working in social care will never forget, as residents reunite and have physical contact with their friends and family for the first time in nearly a year.  

Staff at Laurel Lodge took ITV news through the updated visitor policy for the 6 o clock news.

In line with the latest government guidance and recommendations from social care regulator the Care Quality Commission, every resident living within a care facility throughout the UK is entitled to indoor visits allowing minimal physical contact, for two nominated individuals.  

This was a groundbreaking and emotional day for residents, their loved ones and social care staff alike.  To be able to hold hands once again with their partner, child, or meet their grandchild for the very first time is something our residents are incredibly grateful for, and it is our pleasure to be able to facilitate indoor visits once again. 

Throughout the pandemic our homes have put in an immense amount of effort to ensure the relationships between residents and their loved ones has remained at the forefront of the care we provide.

Chiswick House socially distanced garden visiting area.

From penpal schemes, video calls, skype and zoom shows, window and drive-thru visits, and socially distanced visits in custom-made areas, our staff have truly gone above and beyond to maintain contact as much as possible and nurture these relationships.

We understand it hasn’t been easy for our residents or their loved ones to spend so much time apart, but it warms our hearts to see the people closest to our residents in the homes once again.

We also understand that picking just two of the people closest to you can be a difficult and arduous decision for our residents, which is why we are continuing our programme of alternative visiting methods to ensure our residents maintain contact with as many of the people who are important to them, as possible. 

One of our homes, Laurel Lodge in Norwich, was lucky enough to also welcome the film crew of ITV News to the home to celebrate this special occasion. They spoke with residents, staff, and residents loved ones about the new policies, and what it means to them. 

Kings Lynn Residential held distanced garden shows throughout 2020.

Kelise, one of our amazing team within the home said: “It’s so nice to see them with their family again. It’s lovely to see how happy they are to be able to hold hands again”. 

Home manager Danielle Bullent told ITV news: “You’ve been able to see a real difference heading towards this day (April 12th 2021) within our residents, they’ve been really excited and looking forward to it. There’s a real air of hope that this is the first step towards returning to normal and being able to welcome all of our wonderful visitors back into the home”. 

Danielle also emphasized the importance of maintaining the policies and procedures within the home, which have been paramount in keeping residents safe within the home across the last twelve months. 

Socially distanced window visit for resident Pam’s birthday.

“Even though this is a really positive step in the right direction, we feel it is important to air on the side of caution. We know that our policies and procedures have been effective in protecting our residents, so even though everyone is excited to return to normal, we are taking it slow and assessing every decision to ensure it is what’s best for staff and residents alike”.  

We are incredibly proud of our staff team who have worked tirelessly throughout the Coronavirus pandemic in an unprecedented situation which nobody could have predicted, under more pressure than the social care industry has ever faced before.

They are a perfect example of how dedicated, caring, passionate and unflinching the social care sector is overall and we wanted to extend our sincerest thanks to each and every member of not only the Black Swan team, but social care workers across the world.  

Thank you for all that you do.