A DAUGHTER has spoken of her heartbreak at not being able to see her 86-year-old mum – a resident at a care home – due to Covid-19 restrictions.

And she is calling on the Government to give more priority to addressing potential ways of easing the agony for relatives unable to visit their loved ones in homes.

Karen Darvell last visited her mother, a resident at Herncliffe in Keighley, at the end of July – the week before local lockdown restrictions were imposed.

Since then, contact has been limited to phone conversations and weekly video calls.

She has noticed a rapid worsening in the condition of her mum, retired headteacher Shirley, who has vascular dementia.

“We used to visit her every day and I’m sure it’s the absence of visiting that has led to the deterioration,” said Karen, 54, who also has two brothers – Philip and Richard Blake.

“She struggles to know who you are now when you phone and quite often she’s in tears.

“It’s just so upsetting.

“This situation isn’t the home’s fault. The care there is excellent ­– and they have to follow the rules.”

Karen, a former IT project manager, says she is “incredibly frustrated” with the Government for failing to consider more urgently how visits to homes could be made safely.

“Months have passed and the silence from the decision-makers has caused utter despair for so many families,” she said.

“Who knows how long our loved ones in care homes have and whilst I would not want there to be visits with any risk, there are potentially safe options. And you’ve got to balance the risks against the benefits visits would have for the resident.”

She said options could include treating relatives as key workers, with regular testing; the wearing of hazard gear when visiting, or allowing some contact for example through an open window.

Karen also issues a general plea to the public to continue to adhere to guidelines to help bring infection rates down.

“I’d like to urge people locally to please consider the impact their actions have more widely in unseen ways which may not affect them directly – such as care home visiting restrictions,” she said.

“If the infection rates drop locally, visits to care homes are more likely to resume. All relatives who are so desperate to visit their loved ones would really be incredibly grateful if people locally continue to observe the rules, however hard that is.”

The Department of Health & Social Care says: “Our first priority remains to prevent infections in care homes and protect staff and residents. We appreciate the challenges which care homes, as distinct from other health and care settings, face in safeguarding their residents from infection and the particular risks of outbreaks.”