Keeping families together: Inside the Sutton care home offering safe visits

Tap above to watch video report by Ria Chatterjee

For families with relatives living in care homes the prospect of not seeing their loved ones at Christmas is unthinkable.

The Government promised that all care homes would be able to welcome visitors but without funding many care bosses remain concerned about the reality.

At Gracewell of Sutton they have developed a safe visit scheme allowing people to see their relatives and give the all important physical contact they say their residents so badly need.

Among those benefitting are Nicole and her mother Micheline. Under the first lockdown contact in care homes was cut quickly and Micheline's mental health rapidly deteriorated.

"She wasn't eating, she wasn't drinking, she was absolutely wretched. She truly thought she had been abandoned," said Nicole Gallop Mildon.

"We went from five visits a week on average to none," she added.

ITV News was invited into this care home to film at a distance while observing all Covid safety measures to show how they are managing lockdown.

Staff say residents with a clinical need can have one family member visit. That person has to be tested every week, wear PPE and sign a contract.

"It's heartbreaking to see our residents giving up the touch of a loved one - it's irreplaceable, you can't substitute with any activities," said Jogie Nograles Dellota from Gracewell of Sutton care home

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