FAMILIES in Bromsgrove will be reunited with loved ones in care homes following a decision by Public Health bosses to allow limited visits.

Worcestershire County Council Public Health teams say they have considered the current situation and the impact the closure of care homes is having on families and residents.

Despite infection rates being higher in many areas than in September when the decision was taken to halt visits, Public Health has advised care homes that limited visits to residents can now be arranged, providing strict safety measures are in place to protect vulnerable residents.

Extra Care and Supported Living will also be advised they can open to limited family visits again.

All visitors will be asked to follow strict visiting rules, and individual care homes will need to regularly assess their residents’ needs and vulnerabilities to ensure visits continue to be conducted as safely as possible.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “ Our first priority must always be the safety and health of our most vulnerable, poorly and elderly residents.

"Restricting visits to care homes was a very difficult decision, and we promised we would continue to monitor the impact this would have.

"It is always a question of balancing protection from Covid-19 with the mental health and emotional wellbeing aspects of restricting family contact.

"With these considerations in mind, we have decided to advise that care homes can reopen to limited visitors, providing there are stringent safety measures in place.

"I hope this will ease worry and anxiety for Worcestershire families and I thank our residents, families, and care homes for working with us to protect loved ones.”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, cabinet member for adult social care, added: “Thank you to every family who has had to sacrifice visiting their loved ones in order to keep them safe.

"We know this was extremely difficult and upsetting, and we thank you for co-operating fully to protect those we love.

"I hope the reopening of care homes for visits will bring comfort and reassurance. When you visit, please follow the rules, they are there to protect everyone.

"Covid-19 is on the rise still, we must take it as seriously as ever.”