I HAVE been brought near to tears this week by some of the discussion on regulations that are preventing family from being with elderly and dying relatives. This has very special meaning for me.

It is not so long since I sat on the bed and held my husband as he died, our last few hours together and the last thing I could do for him. For the last few hours, our son stood by me, ready to help me when the end came. That night, it would have taken the army to move me, and had I not been able to do as I did, I doubt they would have found me alive the following morning as I could not have lived with the guilt.

READ MORE: Five more people die in Scotland after contracting Covid-19

I know the effect of that guilt, as my mother was prevented from being with my father when he recovered briefly from a coma after a stroke. The hospital had sent her home some days previously, telling her to go home and reorganise her life as if he were already dead. After he died and they notified her, she was told that he had woken up for a short spell and was calling for her, but they did not call her because they thought she would likely not arrive in time.

For another 20 years, my mother carried the guilt of feeling that she had let my father down when it mattered most. I could not have faced that, yet that is what so many families are presently condemned to live with. If it can be made safe enough for staff to go home to family, deal with children home from school, go shopping etc and return to close contact with the elderly residents, surely the same precautions could be in place for close family members, one at a time? Otherwise, many residents, knowing they face a short remaining lifespan, realise that they may never see their family again. Would many not prefer to be dead?

The decision-makers know what they are trying to protect care home residents FROM, but I believe they need to start thinking about what they are protecting them FOR – their last days in misery, isolated from those they love most and the only part of their past life which they still have left?

P Davidson