Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, asked the Scottish Government when care home residents will be able to see close friends and family and was delighted by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport’s response.

Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, confirmed on the 24th February that safe, indoor visiting will resume from early March so long as the wide range of protections already in place are maintained and rigorously sustained. This will allow everyone living in adult care homes, no matter their age, health, or otherwise, to have meaningful contact with their families and loves ones.

Since the COVID vaccine rollout began in December, over 99.9% of older care home residents and 95% of care staff in Scotland have received their first dose so the vaccination program will work alongside other protective measures including infection prevention and control; testing prior to hospital discharge; PPE, and testing of all staff and visitors in ensuring residents are as safe as possible when visiting resumes.

Additionally, updated care home visiting guidance ‘Open with Care’ has been published to support the return of indoor visiting and ensure that there is meaningful contact between care home residents and their loved ones. The revised guidance recommends that all care homes should support residents to have up to two designated visitors each with one visit a week for each visitor from early March.

Care homes can access support from local oversight teams who have provided ongoing advice and support throughout the pandemic, and the Scottish Government is providing funding for reasonable additional costs incurred as a result of the pandemic – including staffing and non-staffing costs associated with facilitating safe visiting in care homes.

George Adam said:

“It goes without saying this past year has definitely been one of the most challenging in our recent history but I know COVID-19 has been especially difficult for people who have lost loved ones, or been separated from their friends and family members residing in care homes.

“While the restrictions on visiting have undoubtedly been necessary to protect those most vulnerable to coronavirus and the challenges it brings, that necessity has not made it any easier for my constituents living in care homes and their loved ones. That is why I asked the Scottish Government when visiting can resume – and I was absolutely delighted with the Cabinet Secretary’s response.

“From early March safe, indoor visiting is set to resume so long as all current guidance and practice is upheld and diligently implemented, and I know this will mean the world to so many individuals and families right here in our town who have been separated until now.

“Care home staff have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to support continued contact between residents and their loved ones but we all know that nothing really compares to in person contact with those most important to us.

“The updated guidance ‘Open with Care’ has been published to help support the return of such contact and I hope this gives everyone living or working in a care home in Paisley – together with their families and friends – a positive boost after an unprecedented year.”