'Liberating' - emotional day as care home residents reunited with loved-ones
People across the West Country have been visiting their loved-ones in care homes as part of the first step in easing lockdown.
Care home residents are now able to see a nominated friend or relative face-to-face from today (Monday 8 March).
For Rosemary Ramsay, 87, and Kathleen Watret, 88, from Tetbury - it is a ‘liberating’ day.
The pair have been at Upton Mill Care Home for more than six months, since it first opened in August.
But today marked their first proper trip out, when they took a short mini bus ride to nearby The Goods Shed for a scenic walk.
Rosemary told ITV New West Country: “Today is quite liberating isn't it. It's just very nice on a morning like this to have a nice walk by the river."
Yvonne Stephens, 95 and from old Parc Vro Care Home near Helston, said she had "almost forgotten" what her daughter Jean Trimble looks like as they were reunited today.
Jean said: “It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.
"I was itching to get in so I could come and see my mum and yes, it’s just wonderful, I can’t describe the feeling of emotion that goes through your head when you know it’s going to happen, it’s almost disbelieving after all this time.”
Yvonne said: “Have I missed her? Of course, of course I have, it’s been very funny not seeing her at all, even hearing her on the telephone - it’s different.”
Yvonne has four children and Jean will be Yvonne's nominated regular visitor. Under the new rules, she can go inside the care home after a getting negative result from a lateral flow test and while wearing PPE.
Her three brothers will still be able to visit, but only in a pod or in the care home's garden.
Jenny Winzar, Home Care Manager at Parc Vro, said: “It’s almost like we’re coming out of it now. We’ve had a year of testing three times a week, we’ve gone through it all and it’s almost like there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel now.
"I never like to say that we’re totally out of it but we’re coming out and everybody has got that cheer back again and we’re all ready for it now.”
All the residents and staff at Parc Vro have had their first Covid-19 vaccine and are due to get their second in three weeks time.
The new guidelines require all care home visitors to be tested, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and keep physical contact to a minimum.
Handholding is permitted but hugs and kisses are not, the government has said in its guidance.
Yvonne’s daughter Jean said she’s "prepared to be patient" in order to be able to hug her mum, ‘when the time is right’. She said: “It will come, I know.”
Watch Katie Rowlett's report from Tetbury
Watch Grace Pascoe's report from Helston
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