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Huntly care homes make plans for visitors to return for their residents

By Pat Scott

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Balhousie Care Home at Huntly.
Balhousie Care Home at Huntly.

CARE home residents in Huntly will soon be able to have face to face, indoor visits from their families.

Visiting was stopped early in March last year as the pandemic struck.

Some easing meant that residents were able to see their families in tents or at their windows but for most it will have been a year since they had an indoors visit.

Last month, the Scottish Government published guidance on the resumption - allowing up to two visits per week, by two designated visitors at separate times.

Individual homes have set out their own rules within the guidelines and this week, Balhousie Care Group announced that at their Huntly home, visiting can re-start on Monday - but all visitors will have to take a rapid response lateral flow test and return a negative result and have their temperature confirmed at less that 37.8 degrees centigrade before being allowed in.

The result of the test will be known within 30 minutes.

Only one designated visitor per resident is allowed for a maximum of 30 minutes per week. Visitors will have to wear a mask and gown which will be provided, remain two metres away from their family member and not have any physical contact.

The visit can take place indoors, in a specially designated room, not that of the resident, or in the garden.

A spokesman for Balhousie said: "We’re delighted to be taking this important step after what’s been a long wait for everyone.

"Protecting a loved one and our staff is our top priority, and that’s especially true of us opening our doors once more. As with every step we have made in navigating the coronavirus pandemic, there will be phased approach to our in-home visits.

"Just as our care homes have individual care plans for each resident, we will also have a visitation plan for each resident, with visiting times and lengths of visits recommended according to each individual’s habits and needs.

"We will regularly review our visitation protocols giving due consideration to community transmission data, Scottish Government Guidelines and any local outbreak information.

"We are excited to be taking this next important step and recognise the importance of this for the wellbeing of both our residents and family members."

Bellsize, operators of the Meadows Nursing Home have still to confirm when visiting there will be possible.

Deputy manager Kellie Birkhead told The Huntly Express: “We are moving forward with how visiting will be allowed."

It is understood management at Scott's Hospital are also developing a plan to allow the safe return of visitors.

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