After months separated from their loved ones, residents at Welford Healthcare’s Bristol care home, Argentum Lodge and Sidmouth’s Holmesley Care Home are being reunited with their spouses, children, grandchildren and friends thanks to the installation of two state of the art coronavirus proof visitors’ rooms.
Welford Healthcare, who have not had any cases of COVID-19 in their homes, have built the rooms as a safe way for residents to spend time with their loved ones without the concern of coronavirus or having to stay two metres away. The room is divided by an airtight glass partition and uses existing communications technology which has been redesigned to allow natural and seamless communication through the glass.
Particular care has been taken to ensure visits are as close to normal as possible in these extraordinary times. Every detail has been considered, right down to the semi-circle coffee table on both sides of the glass, making those who use the room feel as though they are sitting having a cup of tea together around the same table. The permanent rooms were created by converting existing bedrooms and also have dedicated external entrances, so visitors do not enter the home itself.
Residents at Argentum Lodge and Holmesley Care Home can finally make up for lost time and be reunited with loved ones without the worry of coronavirus. They can even see their beloved pets who have had to be kept away for so long. The rooms also allow visits from health and social care professionals who don’t need to directly interact with residents, again reducing the number of people who come into the home.
In creating these rooms, Welford Healthcare has partnered with Contacta Systems Ltd who specialise in Speech Transfer Systems which are used in the retail and banking sectors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic they redesigned and launched their new range in just three weeks, which features seamless, contactless communication in a smaller and more aesthetic package.
Loved ones of residents have been excited to book in special visits and events, with a surprise birthday party, a wedding anniversary and a visit from a furry best friend all scheduled. To make sure the room has high standards of infection control, visitors are encouraged to bring their own mug and spoon so they can enjoy a cup of tea with their loved ones, using the available tea and coffee facilities.
With everyone adjusting to the ‘new normal’, tackling loneliness and encouraging safe interaction between residents and their loved ones is more important than ever. Welford Healthcare hope that their pioneering approach to allowing COVID safe and secure visits will be adopted by other care home operators.
Will Neal, Partner at Welford Healthcare, said:
“We are delighted to have pioneered these innovative new areas for our residents in response to the COVID pandemic. We know how important face-to-face contact is, especially in these challenging times and we are very excited to be able to facilitate our residents to properly see and speak to their loved ones for the first time in months in a comfortable and private setting.
“The interactions and events which are taking place because of these rooms are fantastic to see and replace the tricky window visits which were occurring, where there was little privacy and people couldn’t really hear each other.
“The schedule of visits is already packed and every day we are seeing incredibly emotional and heart warning scenes of loved ones being reunited in this safe setting.
“We always strive to deliver excellent care for all our residents and give them a place they can call home. We are so pleased that the new visitors’ suites are being received so well.”
Shelley Rolfe, Head of UK Sales and Service at Contacta Systems Ltd, said:
“Partnering with Welford Healthcare to deliver this project was truly rewarding. Hearing about the visits and interaction which can now take place after so long is truly incredible.
“With glazing going into places that have never had it before it has been a privilege to create a product which will help so many as we move forward.”