Residents at Colten Care’s 21 care homes in the south have been reunited with their loved ones thanks to a new Covid-safe visiting approach.
Perspex screens installed in the homes’ entrance ways are enabling families and residents to see and talk to each other in close physical proximity for the first time since lockdown began three months ago.
While conforming to all public health guidance, it’s a safe way to bring people together without the risk of transmitting the virus.
The first reunion was at Colten’s Canford Chase home in Poole between resident Brenda Dyer and her daughter Beverley Darbyshire.
Like other families, their only means of communication since March has been on the phone, in video calls and through emails and letters.
“The visit was brilliant,” said Beverley. “It has been wonderful to talk to her on the phone and on the iPad but there’s nothing like actually being able to look into her eyes.
“You always worry in the back of your mind that she’s not as good as she says she is but when you are face to face that connection’s there again and you know she is telling you the truth that she’s fine.
“I absolutely get why the screen is there. It was wonderful to see her so close and yet know that she was safe and I was safe, and neither of us were putting anyone else at risk. I am really thrilled that I’ve been able to see her.”
Brenda said: “It was real morale boost. It makes me feel a lot more optimistic that I may be able to see more of my family over the coming months.”
Canford Chase Home Manager Charlotte Wilson said: “We’ve done amazingly well so far with social distancing, PPE, testing and controls on admissions and visits.
“Now, we’re delighted to have been able to introduce this new safe visiting solution and see our residents and relatives reconnecting. It’s heartwarming.”
Elaine Farrer, Colten Care Operations Director, said: “Everything we do is centred round the wellbeing of our residents and their families.
“That’s why, as soon as we felt it was safe to do so, we worked with our in-house team to create this innovative solution to enable safe visiting.
“It’s not the same as actually meeting as usual but at least you can see and talk to each other while being physically together, unlike Skype or Zoom.
“Our teams have managed the lockdown restrictions brilliantly. We are so proud of all they have achieved to date, but they fully appreciate just how much residents have been missing visits from their families and friends.
“The new safe visiting protocol looks to be a great success already, giving residents and staff a huge boost.”