£20k glass box gives care home residents a ‘lifeline’ in lockdown
Written by Rother Radio News on 03/11/2020
Residents at a care home in Sheffield have “come alive” with joy after a £20,000 glass box was installed allowing them to speak to loved ones for the first time in months.
A sterile glass building has been created in the garden of Northfield Care Home in Sheffield and it is already going down a storm with residents.
The new “visitor pods” are providing a lifeline to those who are isolating in the home, reports Mirror Online, and one 86-year-old resident, who had not seen her family since March, said she felt like “the Queen”.
Alexandrina Soutter, who is known as ‘Nina’ to her relatives, was one of the first to try out the new pods as she was delighted to sit in her “little glass house” and even do a royal wave to her family.
Before the pandemic, Nina’s devoted daughter Donna Brown would spent at least five a hours a day by her mum’s side, doing crosswords and quizzes together.
That routine was ripped apart in March but now, for the first time since then Nina, who suffers from dementia, was able to sit in her wheelchair and have a giggle with Donna and her son-in-law Stephen.
Donna, 59, said: “One of the first things she said to me was; ‘Where’ve you been?’
“I used to always be with her and she didn’t understand where I’d gone. She’d been in tears because she missed us so much.”
Husband Stephen added: “It’s everything for Nina and Donna so it’s great news we have the glass pod now for this latest lockdown.
“This is a lifeline and a life saver for Nina, as it makes her day and she comes alive.
“When they isolated last time everything was shut down and at that time it was phone calls it is very hard to keep their concentration on the phone.
“It’s a different environment for Nina too and it makes her joyful, she’s always looking round the garden.
“She saw a squirrel last time we went and was over the moon, shouting: ‘it’s a squirrel, it’s a squirrel’.”
Deputy housekeeper, Alison Marshall, said: “I’m not going to lie, I could cry half the time seeing the residents and relatives together again. It’s been a long time.
“It’s one of the most positive things to come out of the Covid pandemic.
“Just to see the happiness on their faces is so emotional. They’ve had window visits but it’s just not the same.”
Senior carer, Joy Green 63, said: “Her whole body lifted when she saw Donna coming down the path, her eyes lit up.
“She loves it because she’s used to them being here all the time and they haven’t been allowed to because of the pandemic “Residents get really depressed and down about not seeing their loved ones, some stop eating and won’t drink.
“One lady kept saying: ‘They’ve just dumped me here, they don’t want me any more’.
“It breaks your heart. You know it’s not true but there is nothing you can do. It’s so cruel this Covid.
“But the isolation is worse, it can be crueler than the pandemic.”
Northfield is one of two care homes run by Palms Row Health Care in Sheffield. The third recently closed down because of the effects of Covid-19.
At the height of the pandemic the three homes saw a total of 25 people die of coronavirus as the virus swept through the homes.
Bosses of Northfield, a 63-bed home, purchased the pod with local government infection prevention and control (IPC) funds.
Two families are allowed to visit the pods daily as they have to be deep cleaned by care home staff between each half hour session.
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.”
Palms Row Health Care is also in the process of installing a second visitor pod at Westbourne House nursing home.
“Visits from loved ones can be a lifeline for elderly and vulnerable people.
“I know our residents really look forward to seeing their family and friends in person so I’m delighted that we can facilitate these reunions in our safe and comfortable visitor pods.”