Families reunited with care home residents thanks to innovative visitor room

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 15:46 29 July 2020

Nicky Durrant and dog visiting her mother Patricia Durrant.  Picture: Welford Healthcare

Nicky Durrant and dog visiting her mother Patricia Durrant. Picture: Welford Healthcare

Welford Healthcare

There have been ‘heartwarming’ scenes at a Sidmouth care home where a Covid-secure visitors’ room is finally making face-to-face meetings possible.

For nearly four months, residents at the Holmesley care home had only been able to see and talk to their loved ones on video or at a distance through open windows. Now, husbands, wives, children, grandchildren, friends and even pets can visit them without needing to stay two metres away.

The room is divided by an airtight glass partition and uses communications technology to allow natural conversation, in the same way as the systems used in banks and other environments that have security screens.

A semi-circular table on each side of the glass gives the impression that the users of the room are sitting together around the same table.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own mugs and spoons so that they can enjoy a cup of tea with their loved ones, using the available tea and coffee facilities.

The care home’s 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 heartwarming 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.”

The room was created by converting a bedroom and has its own external entrance so that visitors do not go into the rest of the building.

Health and social care professionals who do not need to make physical contact with residents can also use it, reducing the number of people who come into the home.

Holmesley is run by Welford Healthcare, who have had no cases of Covid-19 in any of their residential homes.

Welford Healthcare joined forces with a company specialising in speech transfer systems, which are used in the retail and banking sectors, to provide the safe visitor rooms in its care homes.


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