NATASHA Hamilton isn’t alone in wanting to spend time with a loved one. She is desperate to see her mum after more than five months of lockdown.

However, while care homes have only been able to allow one outdoor visit per week, initially with one household, Ms Hamilton felt it should be her father Campbell Duke who visited her beloved mother Anne first.

As lockdown restrictions ease and people can enjoy a daily pint in a pub, Ms Hamilton has questioned why families can’t see loved ones every day and has started a petition which has more than 2000 signatures from across Scotland. She has also emailed every MSP in Scotland to highlight her cause.

Her 62-year-old mother, who lives with dementia, had been used to regular visits from family who also cared for her when they were able to spend time with her. However, lockdown put a strain on families and their loved ones when they were cut off and then only recently allowed one visit per week.

Read more: Scottish Government urged to review funding cut to charity supporting personal care assistant employers

Ms Hamilton, who lives in Edinburgh, had put her father first and he has been a designated visitor at his wife’s Lanarkshire care home. He had been due to visit his wife tomorrow for his 65th birthday at Whitehills Care Home in East Kilbride, but the care home has had to put a temporary ban on any visits to the unit his wife is in while testing is underway. It also came at a time when NHS Lanarkshire said they would not be permitting indoor visits.

Ms Hamilton said: “Quite rightly the care home has had to put measures in place and we think they have been doing a great job with the guidelines, but that does not take away from the fact that only allowing one visit a week must be having a detrimental effect.

“I started a petition as I knew many people were in the same situation and it has grown in support. We want a relative to be designated in effect a key worker and to be able to have daily access. It is so important for a loved one’s well-being and for the whole family. You can go to the pub as much as you like, but you can’t visit a loved one every day.”

Ms Hamilton, 34, feels like relatives of those in care homes are now paying the price for failings at the beginning of lockdown when the virus spread in centres following a lack of testing when patients were discharged from hospitals and sent to care homes.

“We knew this was an important week as care homes were due to hand in their risk assessments for indoor visits. We had hope that it might bring about some changes,” added Ms Hamilton.

“We just want some kind of indication of when people can see more of their loved ones. I am concerned with clusters breaking out and heading into winter that we will just be left behind, but why should our loved ones be left. It is almost as if no one is clear on what guidance to give care homes on visiting and it is too big a problem to handle after the way the virus spread in care homes at the beginning of lockdown.”

Read more: Glasgow's Ronald McDonald House receives book club donations after its lockdown membership soared

As the weeks go on, Ms Hamilton is concerned about how this is affecting her mother’s health.

“We had been helping her to take a few steps in her room before lockdown and would do what we could to care for her when we visited, but I am concerned about her mobility,” added Ms Hamilton. “She has lost her speech through dementia and we really don’t know how long she has. I just feel that I am spending this time fighting, and can’t be with her.”

James Lowson, 75, from Langbank, Renfrewshire, was one of many to sign the petition as he is also calling for daily visits. His wife Norma, also, 75, is in a residential care home as she developed vascular dementia several years after a heart operation.

Mr Lowson said: “Restricting visits to residents in care homes to 30 minutes per week is causing untold mental anguish to the residents, their love ones and also impacts hard working carers who have to handle this unnatural environment.

“We really need there to be consideration in relaxing the visit restrictions through identifying one family member as a key worker. The designated key worker would be required to comply with all necessary medical assessments and once cleared as being risk free allow that designated family member to visit their love one in their room, which is their home, for one hour each day.

“This would alleviate carer workload and help in halting the growing level of mental stress and despair being experienced by residents.”

Mr Lowson said there is an anomaly where care home key workers can return to their families after a shift, go to restaurants, play bingo, or have a drink in a bar.

He added: “I have absolutely no objections to this, they deserve the relaxation. However, an elderly gentleman who does not socialise and only ventures out to play a round of golf can only visit his wife of 51 years for 30 minutes each week. Where’s the greatest risk. Residents in care homes are prisoners. Once again the Scottish Government has failed our care home residents.”