Care homes across Worcestershire are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure that their residents continue to have vital contact with their relatives.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen many examples of new and innovative ways of staying in touch introduced across care settings in the county. These include, earlier in the year garden visits, face time calls using iPads or phones and some homes have also built rooms to enable visiting to take place, using Perspex screens.
As well as all the measures put in place by care homes, Worcestershire County Council is working with central government on proposals, such as testing care home visitors to increase access as soon and safely as possible.
Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care, said: “Some of the examples of care settings going above and beyond during this outbreak to help residents stay in touch with their families is fantastic to see.
“These are difficult times, but we all know the difference seeing your loved ones makes to you mental wellbeing.
“Everyone is pulling together to look after those in need and I’d like to say a huge thank you to our care staff, who are doing an amazing job.”
Stanfield Nursing Home in Worcester offers care for the elderly with 41 beds and is one of the homes to provide different ways for their residents to stay in touch with relatives. They have introduced a wide range of communication methods, including face time calls, WhatsApp messaging, letters and a specific meeting room was introduced over the summer months.
Richard White, Director of Stanfield Nursing Home, said: “This is a very complex situation, nothing like I’ve seen before and we’re having to constantly adapt with the additional knowledge we now have of the virus.
“We acknowledge that what we are offering now is second best to a personal visit. The people we support and care for don’t get the chance to hold and touch their loved ones. They are not getting the full emotional reassurance that they need, but we’re doing everything in our power to help as much as we can.”
Hernes Nest House in Bewdley is a residential home for older people, with 21 beds and they have also had to introduce new ways of communication. They have converted a room into a visitor pod, with separate entrances for residents and their visitors. The pod includes washable paint and chairs, laminated pictures and Perspex screen.
Sarah Collins, Deputy Manager at Hernes Nest House, said: “During the pandemic, we’ve had to make changes to the way we work to ensure residents can to stay in touch with loved ones, but at the same time adhering to the guidance that is in place.
“It’s very important to the wellbeing of our residents that they’re able to stay in touch with their families and we will do all we can to continue to support this.”