FAMILIES have been reunited across care homes in the borough, as the visiting restrictions were eased this week.
Residents at Lord Harris Court in Sindlesham were delighted to be able to meet their loved ones in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The home opened its doors to family visits, following guidance from the government, which allows each care home resident to be visited by one family member or loved one.
Edna Staines was one of the first residents in the home to be reunited with her daughter, Helen.
“It means so much to me to see my daughter in person once again and have her sit next to me,” she said. “Thankfully, we’ve been able to see each other in the home’s visitor pod during the pandemic, which has been great, but it means the world to me to be able to hold her hand again.”
Helen said it was an emotional experience to be next to her Mother, and hold her hand.
“Staff at the home have done a wonderful job in supporting Mum to stay happy and healthy but it is such a special feeling to be with her again,” she said.
Before visitors are reunited with their loved ones, they take a lateral flow Covid-19 test.
They also wear gloves, an apron and mask as an additional precaution.
Last year, Lord Harris Court closed its doors to all but essential visitors before the first national lockdown in March, to protect its residents and staff.
Families were able to visit using the home’s Covid-secure visitor pod, which opened last summer.
Home manager Abigail Cranston said: “We have been waiting for this moment for a long time and are overjoyed to be able to reunite our residents safely with their loved ones in person.
“It was a heartfelt moment and brought tears of joy and happiness to everyone present. We are privileged to be involved in sharing this moment with residents, their families and loved ones.”
She said throughout the pandemic, staff have gone “above and beyond” to support residents and help them stay connected with loved ones.
“We are so pleased to be moving in the right direction and are looking forward to opening our home up to more visitors and larger gatherings when it is safe to do so,” Ms Cranston added.