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DUP MP Carla Lockhart has welcomed the announcement by Health Minister Robin Swann that his Department at looking at a ‘Care Partner’ Scheme, as part of a wider package of support for local care homes to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Carla Lockhart said:

“Last week I called on the Health Minister to consider a scheme similar to that which is being piloted in England. This would enable a member of a care home residents family to be designated as a key worker, enabling them to be subject to regular testing and training in relation to PPE. This would bring additional support to residents, both in terms of actual care but also in terms of mental health wellbeing and overall welfare.

Today’s announcement that the Minister is looking at a care partner concept is welcome and I will await further detail in relation to this to see if it represents a move similar to that which is in England. I trust that it will bring about a balance between protecting care homes, but also ensuring residents get that personal contact and emotional support that they need. For families too, the separation from loved ones residing in care homes must be addressed.

The funding and suite of measures for care homes announced today is a welcome step forward. Support for staff, residents and families is badly needed.”