Residents at a Sidmouth care home are being reunited with their loved-ones for the first time in three months thanks to a state-of-the-art ‘Covid-proof’ visitors’ room.
The pioneering area at Holmesley Care Home has been designed to defy the pandemic and allow its 41 OAPs to have face-to-face contact with their families.
It has led to heart-warming and emotional scenes this week with spouses, children, grandchildren and friends making up for lost time.
The home in Fortescue Road has not had any cases of coronavirus during the crisis.
Its new ‘Covid-proof’ visitor zone – a converted bedroom – is divided by an airtight glass partition.
Existing communications technology has been redesigned so residents and loved-ones can converse seamlessly.
There is even a semi-circle coffee table on both sides of the transparent barrier – so they can enjoy a cuppa together.
It has a dedicated external entrance so visitors do not enter the home itself.
Holmesley Care Home manager Jo Burchell said: “It is a delight to see the interactions and events which are now taking place in this room, which could not have occurred before.
“The new room allows our residents to properly see and speak to their loved-ones for the first time in months
“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.
“The rooms are already getting plenty of use, face-to-face contact is so beneficial for our residents and their visitors during these challenging times.”
Residents can even see their beloved pets and the room also allows for visits from health and social care professionals when direct contact is not needed.
They had previously only been able to see their loved-ones virtually – with old smartphones and tablets donated to the home – or through windows.
One family has now even been able to plan a surprise birthday party at the Sidmouth home.
Will Neal, partner at Welford Healthcare, said:“We are thrilled to have pioneered this innovative new area 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.”
Welford Healthcare has teamed up with specialist speech transfer firm Contacta Systems Ltd – with the technology used more commonly seen in banks and shops.
The operator has had no cases of Covid-19 in any of its four care homes around the country.