Mother, 93,holds hands with her daughter thanks to Covid testing trial

Heart-warming moment mother, 93, holds hands with her daughter for the first time in eight months thanks to care home Covid testing trial

  • Marilyn Murch and her mother Betty, 93, have been separated since March 
  • Betty lives in one of the 20 care homes in England participating in the trial  
  • The care home visitor can either take a test upon arrival or do a PCR at home  

This is the heart-warming moment a mother, 93, is finally able to hold her daughter’s hand for the first time in eight months thanks to the new care home Covid testing trial.  

Marilyn Murch and her 93-year-old mother Betty have been separated since the start of the first lockdown in March.

However Betty is lucky enough to be living in Summercourt Residential Home in Devon, one of the 20 care homes in England participating in the trial scheme.

Marilyn Murch and her 93-year-old mother Betty were able to hod hands after eight months

In the footage of the emotional reunion, captured by ITV, Ms Munch can be heard saying ‘Oh mum it’s been really lovely to be able to hold your hand’.

Betty replies ‘What a lovely surprise’ with a big smile on her face.   

When asked what it was like to see her daughter again, she says ‘Wonderful. My baby.’

Ms Munch said after the meeting: ‘It was just lovely to be able to hold hands and actually have that touch – and mum was just thrilled.’

Ms Munch became one of the first in England to try rapid testing for visitors, as part of the new testing pilot scheme. 

The trial which is taking place at care homes across Hampshire, Devon and Cornwall, allows one visitor per resident. 

The emotional reunion took place thanks to a rapid testing pilot scheme

Mother and daughter were so happy to be able to hold hands again after such a long time

Visitors will either take a rapid-result ‘lateral flow’ test upon arriving at the care home or they’ll do a PCR test at home before their visit.

If the visitor is given a negative result, where possible, they will be allowed to have an indoors face-to-face meeting. 

There are 15,500 care homes in England which are not part of the trial and their residents haven’t been able to touch their loved ones in months.  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday if the scheme is proved effective, he plans to expand the programme across England within weeks.

In a round of interviews he said: ‘I hope to have that in place for all care homes by Christmas.’

Under current rules, visitors can only see loved ones through plastic screens. 

A small number of care homes had been allowing garden or drive-through visits. 

The pilot  scheme will aim to assess whether indoor visits must still be socially distanced or whether relatives will be able to hug and hold hands for the first time in months.

Visitors will be able to touch their loved ones as long as they test negative for Covid-19 and wear personal protective equipment. 

However care home bosses said the trial did not go far enough or fast enough and asked ministers to roll out rapid tests to all sites immediately.

Campaigners say the health of many residents is quickly deteriorating and they cannot wait another day to see loved ones.

‘Every day without tests is another lost opportunity for people who haven’t got long left in life to see their families,’ said Nadra Ahmed of the National Care Association.

As many residents haven’t seen their families in months, the bosses of Kepplegate home in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire took it upon themselves to offer routine weekly testing to family members at the start of October enabling face-to-face visits without the screens. 

Audrey, a resident at the Kepplegate home in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, celebrates her 90th birthday with cake brought in by her daughter Shelly

Thanks to the initiative, one of the residents, Audrey was able to celebrate her 90th birthday with her daughter Shelly and son-in-law Mark.

Adam Purnell care quality manager at the home, said: ‘The impact on our residents of seeing their loved ones in person has been enormous.  

‘It means the world to them and their faces light up with joy. The smiles on their faces says it all.’ 

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