Bolton residents could soon visit loved-ones in care homes under plans being drawn up by health and social care leaders.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, additional restrictions in Greater Manchester have meant that families have only been able to visit relatives in care homes in “exceptional circumstances”, but those who have been kept apart in the borough of Bolton could soon be safely reunited.
There are a total of 57 care homes in Bolton, with 1,550 residents.
Bolton Council – along with colleagues across Greater Manchester – has been pushing for the definition of “exceptional circumstances” to be expanded, as this would take into account the negative impact that a long period without receiving visitors can have on care home residents.
And it has now been confirmed by Bolton Council that window visits, or visits in a garden pod, can resume in instances where an appropriate and robust risk assessment is in place.
Individual care homes will be responsible for carrying out a risk assessment and will be supported by the council to draw up plans for safe visiting. Documents will be reviewed and approved by infection control specialists and the Director of Public Health to support care homes to ensure they have the correct safety measures in place.
Visits would be limited to a nominated carer or family members.
Speaking on the announcement of the plans, Cllr Andy Morgan – Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Adult Services – said: “It has been a long and distressing period for both our care home residents and their relatives.
“Our priority is always the safety of those living in care homes, but that means looking after their mental wellbeing as well as their physical health [and] that is why we have pushed for this change in the rules which will allow residents to see their loved ones in a safe environment through closed window visits or visiting pods.
“With the current high rates of COVID-19 community transmission in Bolton, it is important we do all we can to ensure safe arrangements for families to visit their loved ones.”
You can find more information via the Bolton Council website here.