Britain

‘The next best thing to a hug’: Care home uses plastic screen to let residents see loved ones

After a couple of pumps of hand sanitiser, Judy Ogilvy walks into a small room and says simply: "Hello, dad."

Pre-COVID-19, that would be nothing special. But today it is.

Because this is the Beverley Parklands care home, and it's the first time Ms Ogilvy has seen her 92-year-old father, Dick Ferriday, face to face for 11 weeks.

Image: Ms Ogilvy says she is still upset she can't hug her father

This visit has been made possible by the simplest of solutions: a sheet of airtight acrylic glass cuts the room in half.

On one side, where Ms Ogilvy now sits, there is a door leading directly to the car park. On the other side, with a door leading into the care home, sits Mr Ferriday and one of the staff.

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It's frustrating that the physical contact is absent. The hugs, the holding of hands, the daughter's caring touch, all will have to wait for another time.

But for now, this is a welcome alternative.

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"It's the first time I've seen dad since the end of February," Ms Ogilvy said.

"I've talked to him on the phone, which is lovely, but it's not the same as seeing him face to face, seeing his smile.

"It's still upsetting that I can't hug him. But it's definitely the next best thing."

The pair had not seen each other for 11 weeks
Image: The pair had not seen each other for 11 weeks

The safe visiting room is the idea of the Yorkare Care Group, and it's being installed at each of its five homes.

Jonathan Garton, operations director, said: "Our staff have been amazing at keeping our residents spirits high throughout this period, but they are missing visits from their family over the last 10 weeks, and hopefully we have come up with the solution."

Jonathan Garton says he hopes this is a solution for those missing loved ones
Image: Jonathan Garton says he hopes this is a solution for those missing loved ones

The issue of bio security and the government's handling of the pandemic in relation to care homes has been in sharp focus since the early days of the crisis.

Hundreds of care homes have been affected by the virus, and the Yorkare group is no different.

In their population of around 350 residents at five sites, there have been four deaths where COVID-19 infection was either confirmed or suspected.

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