100-year-old sees family for first time since lockdown thanks to care home’s covid-safe visiting room
PUBLISHED: 12:57 24 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:58 24 July 2020
A 100-year-old resident at Soham Lodge Care Centre saw her family in person for the first time in 17 weeks thanks to its newly-built and safely-designed ‘lockdown visiting room’.
The ‘family room’, which enables residents to see and speak to relatives through glass, was officially opened by retired GP Dr Dorothy Clark, who cut the ribbon on behalf of families.
Diane and Peter Hills were the first relatives to use the room to see their mother Peggy Cook, who will turn 101 in December. Apart from video calling, the family had not seen Peggy in person for over 17 weeks since lockdown.
Emma Hales, activities and events manager, said: “The visiting room is divided into two by a large panel of glass, it has two doors so residents enter from their enclosed garden area while family members enter from the visitors’ car park to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
“It has the latest UV disinfectant technology for safety, an Echo Dot plus lots of photos of our residents’ activities during lockdown and space to prepare drinks.”
She said that the local community really pulled together to create the visiting room, with many local businesses and volunteers offering their time to help.
Those who made the idea a reality include Fordham decorators Michelle Pearson and Nicki Attwood who painted the room for free, as well as Reese Theobald who did the electrics while the building was supplied by Littleport Timber.
The care home owner also thanked Phil Hope for the building work, Emma Hales for her fundraising efforts and interior design, as well as Brenda’s Flowers for their support and Gloof Cafe who donated cakes for the opening ceremony.
The care home’s manager Lorraine Clandillon and the staff were also commended for their hard work in keeping the residents safe throughout the CoVid-19 pandemic.
Prior to the family room being built, relatives relied on video calls or socially-distanced visits between the residents’ garden area and the car park.
“This proved difficult at times due to weather conditions,” Emma added. “However, as the room has been insulated, it can be used throughout the year as required for resident safety.
“Further to the Government announcement on July 22 that eased the rules on visits to care homes, we see our visitors room as a way of allowing this to happen while keeping our residents as safe as we can.”
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