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Upper Bann DUP MP Carla Lockhart has written to the Health Minister Robin Swann MLA to request a new assessment of rules pertaining to care home visitation. Currently one nominated individual can visit a resident indoors, with other visits to be held outdoors, or in pods.

Carla Lockhart said:

“Our care home residents have been so significantly impacted by the restrictions on visitation over the last year. I have had many personal accounts relayed to me of the loneliness, depression, and decline in overall health of residents that family link to the lack of close contact visitation.

Now with the vaccine programme being so successful and the reduction in cases, I would urge the Health Minister to work with local care home providers to find a way to allow even greater close contact visitation for families. Currently one nominated member can visit a resident indoors. That is a very tough situation for any family, with all members desperate to once again have the more personal visit to loved ones but only one allowed.

I am urging the Minister, Robin Swann, to urgently reassess the rules around care home visits. I have for some time been urging a more compassionate approach on this issue. We need to continue to make progress in allowing a greater degree of normality or care home residents, particularly as such a high percentage now have both their vaccines.

Families, and care home residents, have had over a year of detachment. This now needs corrected and that support, love and care allowed with more family members.”