People we support are looking forward to reconnecting with their families and local communities, as today marks step one of the coronavirus roadmap, with care home residents being allowed regular visits from today.

The opening up of care homes is part of the government's first step in easing restrictions as the roadmap out of lockdown begins. The guidance, which applies from today, 8th March 2021, allows every person of working age and for older adults who lives in a care home to nominate a single named visitor to enter the care home for regular pre-booked visits. Hugs and kisses will not be allowed to help curb the chance of spreading the virus, but handholding will be permitted, according to the latest visiting guidance by the government.

We spoke to Gregory Court residents Tracey and John to find out what the easing of lockdown restrictions means to them.

Wrestling and Elvis fan Tracey has lived at Gregory Court since 2017 after having a stroke. During lockdown Tracey has missed being able to see her sister but has enjoyed regular FaceTime calls. When asked what she is looking forward to the most, she said: “I will enjoy going to college and swimming and also seeing my sister.”

History buff John has also lived at Gregory Court since 2017 and has cerebral palsy and learning disability. John loves an excuse to go shopping and also enjoys going to history museums, discos, cinema and shopping. He can't wait until he can start doing what he enjoys again. John has a large family who visit him throughout the year in ordinary times. John said: “I am looking forward to going shopping and to the cinema. I will see my mum and brother after lockdown.”

The guidance sets out the Government’s advice to support safe visiting and ensures that all visitors to our care homes will:

Be tested using rapid lateral flow tests before every visit
Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
Follow all other infection control measures (which the care home will guide them on) during visits.
Be advised to keep physical contact to a minimum.

Visitors and people we support may wish to hold hands but should bear in mind that any contact increases the risk of transmission. It is not a condition of visiting that the visitor or the supported person should have been vaccinated. We are also able to continue to offer pre-arranged visits to limited numbers of friends or family members with differing arrangements in each setting such as outdoor visiting, screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.

Please note that visiting may be limited if the service has positive cases of coronarvirus

To hear more from Tracey and John, and find out more about their hopes for the coming months, watch the video below: