Care home residents living with dementia have endured seven months without seeing any of their loved ones, it has been claimed.
Some families have even been stopped from visiting their relatives at their bedroom windows, while car park visits have also been banned.
The restrictions are in place to stop care home residents falling ill with Covid-19, however, it has been warned that some of the most vulnerable members of society are coming to harm as a result of the draconian measures.
An organisation that supports care home residents and their families has urged the health minister, Robin Swann, to intervene to reunite families who have been torn apart for the duration of the pandemic.
It comes as there is mounting concern over the number of care homes in Northern Ireland who are battling potentially deadly Covid-19 outbreaks.
The number of affected facilities has been gradually creeping up in recent weeks and figures yesterday revealed 21 active care home outbreaks and a further five suspected care home outbreaks.
Earlier this week, Mr Swann released the findings of a report on the experiences of care homes during the first surge of the Covid-19 outbreak and said care homes remain his priority.
However, Care Home Advice and Support (CHASNI) said more needs to be done to ensure the health and well-being of families across Northern Ireland.
The organisation also raised concerns that some care home residents may be being deprived of their liberty as a result of individual lockdowns.
Julieann McNally from CHASNI said: "We have spoken to so many families who are extremely distressed by the fact they aren't being allowed to see their relatives. We understand that measures are required to protect care home residents from Covid-19 but these families aren't asking to give their loved one a big hug, they want a socially distanced visit in the car park, or to speak to them through a crack in the window and even that isn't being allowed.
"There are some people who haven't seen their loved one for seven months and we're calling for the health minister to do something to bring an end to this misery.
"The current guidance isn't specific enough and essentially leaves the decision on visits down to the individual homes.
"Families are being torn apart, what has happened to the rights of children to see their grandparents?
"These residents have not been placed in these homes as a result of any order, this is supposed to be their home, yet they are being stopped from seeing their families.
"The harm being caused is immeasurable.
"Many of them have dementia, they don't have time to wait for restrictions to be lifted, and we know the health of some residents is suffering as a direct consequence of not being allowed to see their families."
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We appreciate that it is very difficult for residents of care homes and their families.
"The guidance is current and care home managers will have to make daily decisions based on intelligence about the virus and relevant risk assessments whilst considering how this is balanced with residents' rights.
"This will determine if and when and how visiting can be facilitated."