A CARE home has introduced Christmas-themed visitor ‘pods’ so that residents and their families can meet after spending months apart during the coronavirus pandemic.
Plas Garnedd Care Home, which has two sites on Anglesey, has set up the garden shed-like visiting rooms, which are split into two compartments separated by Perspex screens, to enable families to meet face-to-face while preventing the risks of physical contact.
Since being made available to visitors after the firebreak lockdown, residents have been able to see their new-born grandchildren for the first time, while relatives are able to travel over long-distances to get invaluable personal time with their loved ones.
The visitor pods have given a Christmas grotto theme including presents under a tree.
Similar visitor pods have since been provided to care homes by the Welsh Government, however it is yet another example of how the Anglesey care home has been ahead of the curve in adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic, during which it has been able to keep all of its residents and staff safe from the virus.
Elen Lloyd Hughes, who has been the director of Plas Garnedd since it was set up 21 years ago, said the pods have already had a “huge impact” on the well-being of residents who have a “greater sense of purpose”.
“We hadn’t realised how popular the visitor pods would be as feedback from residents and relatives has been phenomenal having spent months not being able to see their loved ones.
“By pre-booking a half-an-hour slot, most families can now see their relatives once a week and find that one half-hour visit is perfect for them. It means they can safely visit, physically and visually able to spend time with their loved ones, without coming into direct contact.
The visitor pods on the care home premises have two doors adjoined to separate compartments that are divided by a Perspex screen.
“We can give assurance that their relative is well at the care home but being able to see them and spend time with them in privacy is the most reassuring thing.
“It has had a huge impact on residents as it has increased their wellbeing, given them a greater sense of purpose and something to look forward to.”
Pendine Park has been proactive in other areas since the coronavirus pandemic began in February, such as requiring its 120 staff members to wear Virustatic shields before they were included in government guidelines, as well as festival ponchos which provide extra protection from the arms to the knees to limit skin-to-skin contact.
Mrs Jones said its changes are inspired by its approach of treating the care home as a “safe haven” for residents and their families.
“We were extremely lucky to keep both care homes in the green range, saw everybody staff and residents safely through the pandemic,” she said.
“In 21 years of being here I never imagined we would ever see a situation like this and in the beginning it was a nightmare for staff and management. We were faced with a situation of not being able to access PPE as it was rightly prioritised for hospitals, which meant we had to source our own equipment.
“However we never actually physically closed our doors as if a resident is unwell or approaching end of life, we always let people come in with appropriate PPE
“We believe we are one of the first to have gone ahead and opened these visitor pods; a few other care homes nationally have had the same idea but we have been proactive in doing this before it was a requirement and that is what the families appreciate.”