Care homes: Holding hands with loved one again 'makes all the difference'

Watch: Mother and daughter hold hands for first time in months!

A mother in a care home in Hampshire feels 'fantastic' after holding her daughter's hand for the first time in months since the pandemic began.

It comes as new rules in the roadmap out of lockdown mean care home residents can have regular visits from one person.

Visitors will be tested, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and be asked to keep physical contact to a minimum.

Handholding is permitted but hugs and kisses are not, the government has said in its guidance.

Mother and daughter Jean and Jane holding hands after months apart during the pandemic

Jean Borchersen is a resident of Sunrise Senior Living in Winchester and says it was 'fantastic' to see her daughter Jane face-to-face, who she hasn't seen since before Christmas.

When being asked what difference it makes to be able to hold Jane's hand she said "it makes all the difference, absolutely".

Jane Cereda said: "It's been coming towards us, this day, and you think 'is it going to happen, is it not going to happen' and today has just been wonderful."

"I do feel like this is the beginning of things getting better."

Sunrise General Manager Antionette Roberts says it means the world to the residents.

She said: "It is what they've been waiting for for nearly a year. It means the absolute world to them and obviously for us as well seeing more families being able to come in is amazing. We've had visits throughout for people with enhanced clinical needs, but just being able to have one person for every resident is really important."

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw

Meanwhile Judith Lane, who hasn't seen her 94-year-old father for five months, was among the first to be reunited at a care home in Maidstone.

Judith said: "I don't think he understood everything that is going on, we had funny conversations but it was lovely, just nice to see him in the flesh."

Not all care homes are offering visits this week as some don't have the required space or staffing to offer testing, while others are concerned about the insurance implications.

Nadra Ahmed, Chairman of the National Care Association said: "We remain Covid-exempt within our insurance policies so that's a real worry for providers.

"So, therefore when we're doing the risk assessments, having enough staff on site to make it all happen, making sure that the testing capacity is there, we've got enough PPE, all of this is a massive challenge."

Judith reunited with her father at his care home. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Our priority is to ensure everyone receives the right care, in the right place at the right time.

 “To do that, we have invested over £1.4 billion in adult social care, on top of £4.6 billion for local authorities to address pressures on public servicesfree PPE, increased staff testing and resources to support the wellbeing of all social care workers.

 “We are aware the wider adult social care insurance market is changing in response to the pandemic and are working closely across government, with care providers and insurance representatives, to understand the breadth and severity of these issues, and whether there is any action the government should take.”

Judith hopes to visit her father several times a week, the enforced separation of lockdown making every moment together all the more precious.