Covid: 'Incredible feeling' as care home visits resume in Wales

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Jacqueline Bright and her mother smiling and hugging before the pandemic hitImage source, Jacqueline Bright
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"When Mark Drakeford said Sunday might be possible, I couldn't wait to get in there," said Mrs Bright

Seeing her mother after a year apart was "an incredible feeling" for Jacqueline Bright.

She is just one of those being reunited with loved ones after Welsh ministers gave the green light last week.

First Minister Mark Drakeford announced on Friday that care home visits could resume.

However, strict rules remain in place, with only a "single, designated visitor" allowed for each care home resident.

But the Welsh government said the "ultimate decision in whether, and in what circumstances care home visits take place rests with the individual provider".

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan had previously said care home visiting was "one of the most difficult areas to try and achieve a balance between protecting people's physical health and emotional wellbeing".

The decision to allow visits to resume follows a decline in the number of positive coronavirus cases in care homes across Wales.

'So overjoyed'

Image source, College Fields Nursing Home
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Jacqueline Bright visited her mother on Sunday 14 March for the first time since lockdown began last year

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, Jacqueline Bright, from Caerphilly, said it has been "quite a worrying year" after her 94-year-old mother was hospitalised on New Year's Eve 2020.

She said her mother, who has vascular dementia, was "fading fast" but gradually got better after being transferred to College Fields Nursing Home in Barry.

"Staff have been wonderful and have provided everything," she said.

Until Sunday, the pair had not seen each other in person for more than a year.

They had been keeping in touch using video calls, but Mrs Bright said nothing compared to seeing each other face to face.

"The reward you get by seeing that person you love so much in the flesh is amazing," she said.

Mrs Bright had to take a rapid Covid test before entering the home.

'She looked overjoyed'

Other safety precautions involved wearing a mask and being behind a Perspex screen.

She said: "I was apprehensive… there are times where her long-time memory has gone.

"The only way I could reach her was singing.

"The wonderful thing was when she clearly recognised me - there was a ray of sunshine that came in and she reached out and we tried to touch between the Perspex screen… I wanted to just grab her.

"She looked so overjoyed."

Mrs Bright said she was still "buzzing" and could not wait to visit again next week.