A CARE home visitor testing pilot in Dreghorn has been hailed a success ahead of the national roll-out.

Families visiting their loved ones in Dreghorn’s Shalom care home were able to receive tests results ahead of visits last month ahead of the roll out – along with Montrose House in Arran and Moorburn Manor in Largs.

This comes after we reported 22 residents had died of suspected or confirmed coronavirus in Fullarton Care Home earlier last year – with a number of tragedies also confirmed in Buckreddan Care Home in November.

The Scottish Government asked if North Ayrshire, as a Tier 3 area at the time, could identify a small number of care homes to be involved in implementing testing for family visitors.

Nationally, the Scottish Government were looking for around eight to 10 care homes across different areas, to help pave the way for a full roll out this year.

And health and social care chiefs told the Times being at the forefront of the pilot has benefitted both practitioners and residents safely seeing their loved ones again.

A North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership spokesperson said: “We can confirm that three North Ayrshire care homes took part in the Scottish Government’s lateral flow Covid-19 testing pilot programme for visitors in December 2020. These were Moorburn Manor in Largs, Montrose House on Arran and Shalom in Dreghorn.

“Being able to confirm negative results on the day of visiting, and respond to any positive results, enhances safe practice and offers a degree of assurance to all involved. It is emphasised that testing regimes are in addition to all other infection prevention and control behaviours that continue, such as the use of PPE, social distancing and hand hygiene.

“Whilst safety of care home residents, staff and visitors is paramount, and indoor care home visits are currently limited nationally in line with Scottish Government guidelines, we recognise the emotional demands this places on residents and families.

“Being at the fore of the pilot on visitor testing has helped inform the wider care home community in delivering their visitor testing regimes, which are now in place across all of North Ayrshire.”