A mother and daughter have been reunited for the first time in nearly 16 weeks as Shropshire’s largest care provider eases its visiting restrictions.

Joyce Foster is a resident at New Fairholme nursing home in Oswestry and this is the moment she was able to see her daughter, Ruth Blinco, face-to-face for the first time since March 16.


She is among a handful of residents at the home operated by Coverage Care Services who have now been reunited with loved ones as the care provider carefully and slowly relaxes its rules around visiting in line with Government guidance.

No hugs or kisses took place between Joyce and her daughter because of social distancing protocols but home manager Imelda Briones said it was ‘truly wonderful’ to see the family back together again.

She said: “It’s been absolutely heart-breaking for our residents and their families to have spent so many weeks apart from each other.

“They’ve been able to maintain contact through Skype calls and telephone conversations but it’s just not the same as being in the same room as each other.

“It’s been so hard for everyone and it’s been truly wonderful to see residents such as Joyce reunited with their loved ones.”

Coverage Care began lifting the restrictions around non-essential visitors last week at three of its homes – New Fairholme, Briarfields in Shrewsbury and the Cottage Christian in Newport.

Further homes are expected to open their doors during the next two weeks as part of a phased programme of re-opening, but this is subject to the results of ongoing whole-home tests.

Homes have been fitted with thermal imaging cameras as an additional safety measure and a strict visiting protocol is in place.

Coverage Care Chief Executive David Coull said: “Closing our homes to family and friends back in March was one of the biggest decisions we’ve ever had to make within the organisation but it was absolutely essential for the safety of all our residents and staff.

“It’s been extremely challenging for residents and their families, but we are both proud of our care teams for doing their upmost every single day to keep spirits high in our homes, and to families for their unstinting support.

“They have been absolute heroes and it’s been just as emotional for them over the last few days to see residents reunited with their loved ones as it has been for the families themselves.

“It has also been a time for us to reflect and our thoughts are of course with those families here in Shropshire who have lost loved ones as a result of the coronavirus infection.”

Coverage Care Services is Shropshire’s largest independent care provider and operates 14 homes across the county.

Homes continue to have strict safety measures in place to prevent and limit the spread of any infection and staff continue to be able to access supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Homes are also still accepting new admissions and referrals but under strict new guidelines.