Fleetwood Hall Care Home has launched its first contact visits for families – and they are proving to be hugely popular.
Families are welcome to visit residents in the home once a week with up to two constant visitors at a time as long as they test negative for Covid-19 on a Lateral flow test. Trained staff carry out the quick swab tests on all visitors requesting a contact test with results due within 30 minutes.
The care home has also created a visitor pod which can be accessed from the outside of the building for non-contact visits. Booking is needed for each visit to allow for a deep clean in between each appointment.
The pod is a simple screened space with an intercom system to allow loved ones to enjoy a safe visit and without the need for a Lateral flow test as an alternative option.
Joanne Warren, Manager of Fleetwood Hall Care Home, said: “We started our first contact visits on Friday and have been overwhelmed by the response from families.
“The phone has been ringing off the hook with families keen to come in to see their loved ones and it has been emotional for all involved to see people being reunited. It has made such an impact on our residents who haven’t been able to see their loved ones for many months.
“They have said how lovely it is to be able to see family and have spoken to others about their experience. We have also received some positive feedback from visitors saying how overjoyed they have been to see their relatives before Christmas and how lovely and welcoming the home is.
“To add some festive cheer to the home we have an array of Christmas activities and events going on including festive crafts, quizzes, games and music, a Christmas jumper day and a festive service with carols.
“We’ll be putting on our own version of the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk meets Mother Christmas next week, have donated toys to Asda and raised £60 from an Elf day.”
David Ruane, a retired senior NHS manager, was the first to try out the new service this morning when he visited his mum.
He said: “The team at Fleetwood Hall have been so supportive in enabling me to visit my mum in these difficult and unprecedented time. The quality of care that they give to my mum is exemplary.”
The home in Chatsworth Avenue, Fleetwood, is part of the Sandstone Care Group, which is investing over £500,000 on improvements at its three North West care homes, which also include St Helens Hall in St Helens and Longridge Hall in Longridge, Preston, which have also opened their own visitor pods.
In addition to its own investment, Sandstone has utilised funding from the Government’s Infection Control Fund, which is helping care homes to implement the strongest possible measures against the virus.
This has helped ensure staff always have access to full PPE, as well as maintaining high levels of infection control throughout the home.
James Parkin, one of the directors of Sandstone Care Group, said: “The Sandstone Care team are passionate about providing outstanding, resident-led care within a modern setting.
“The pandemic has provided enormous challenges for the entire care sector, but we are hugely grateful for the way staff, residents and families have pulled together to help us get through this testing time.”