Care home residents embrace family and friends during Christmas Day visits

Dozens of residents at a Leeds care home were able to embrace their loved ones on Christmas Day after a rapid results trial allowed visits from family members and friends.

Aspen Hill Village in Hunslet, south Leeds, hosted 50 close contact family visits on Friday morning after running successful trials of lateral flow testing for coronavirus, which produce results within 30 minutes.

Woman sat with her friend during a Christmas Day visit at a care home
Diane Schofield with her friend Mary Kirby (Danny Lawson/PA)

Family members clad in personal protective equipment (PPE) – including gowns, gloves and masks – and laden with gifts and flowers hugged and chatted with elderly relatives during a two-hour visiting window.

To bring festive joy for the occasion, activities co-ordinator Claire Paver welcomed visitors while dressed in a Santa Claus outfit and hat, and one care home resident awaited the arrival of her family in a reindeer headband.

Care home staff greeting families on Christmas Day
Activities co-ordinator Claire Paver (centre) with Mary Orme and her son Michael McKimm (Danny Lawson/PA)

Lateral flow tests were rolled out to care homes in England to help enable close contact visits and combat isolation among residents.

On Wednesday the Department of Health and Social Care announced care home staff in England will receive two rapid result tests a week in addition to regular testing to help keep the new coronavirus variant at bay.

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