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Care home residents meet loved ones thanks to new visitor pods

Northfield care home in Sheffield has been able to arrange safe visits for residents for the first time in months thanks to the installation of £20,000 ‘visitor pods’.

Northfield is one of two care homes run by Palms Row Health Care in Sheffield. The 63-bed home provides round the clock care for elderly people with a range of health needs. 

Along with care homes across the country, the Coronavirus pandemic forced Northfield to close to visitors earlier this year to protect its vulnerable residents. Since then, care home staff have arranged video calls and window visits for residents and families but the new visitor pods will mean loved ones can be reunited in person for the first time in several months. 

The pods, which were purchased with local government infection prevention and control (IPC) funds, are fitted out with comfortable seating and speaker systems and are based in the gardens of the care home. Their glass walls will enable residents and visitors to sit near to each other and talk without the risk of spreading infection. The pods will be thoroughly cleaned by care home staff between each visit and visitors from one household will be invited to book visits in advance with care home staff.  

Nicola Richards, Director of Palms Row Health Care, said: 

It’s wonderful to see residents having safe face to face visits with their loved ones again. This year has been extremely difficult for all of us but we are conscious of the effects of our elderly not seeing their loved ones. 

We sadly lost residents during the first peak of this pandemic and we know we’re working with a particularly vulnerable group of people so visits inside the home are not possible. The new pods give us a solution for enabling visiting in a safe environment. As we feel Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon we made the decision to invest in a long term solution for safe visiting. 

I know that it has been extremely difficult for residents and their family and friends to miss out on close visiting over the past few months and myself and my team are all extremely grateful for their understanding and patience. As Sheffield enters increased lockdown restrictions I’m delighted that we’ve been able to install these secure pods to facilitate visits and give our residents the pleasure of seeing their loved ones in person.

Palms Row Health Care is also in the process of installing a second visitor pod at Westbourne House nursing home to ensure visiting can resume in time for the Christmas period. 

Image: Used with kind permission of the Daily Mirror