Social care leaders have praised care home operators and staff across Bolton as they strive to protect their residents while helping them maintain contact with their loved ones.
It comes as a sudden and unexpected jump in the local COVID-19 infection rate has emphasised the need to protect the older and more vulnerable members of the community.
While government regulations have prevented families in Bolton from visiting loved ones in care homes since March, providers have used a variety of innovative solutions to help residents stay connected.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Cllr Andy Morgan, said:
“Like everyone else, I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed that care home residents are unable to have visits from their loved ones.
“We understand how difficult it has been for people to not visit their family and friends for many months now.
“Obviously, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, but our care providers have gone above and beyond to help people stay in touch.
“Whether using technology, or other means, they have gone to great lengths to maintain that vital social connection.
“As the local infection rate rises, we have to ensure care home residents are kept safe.
“Unfortunately, that means sticking to the government’s guidelines and restricting visits as we have done since March.”
The government suspended all care homes visits in England when the country was placed in full lockdown in March.
This ban was never lifted in Greater Manchester (including Bolton), as the region was placed under additional restrictions in July.
The measure remains in place in Bolton, along with a number of other areas, on top of the additional restrictions on the hospitality sector and household mixing.
Cllr Morgan added:
“I’ve always known what an amazing job our care workers perform every single day, but the coronavirus pandemic has underscored what an invaluable role they play.
“We can all help them, and protect our loved ones, by continuing to follow the regulation until this virus is under control.”