A Surbiton care home has built an indoor covid-secure meeting room to allow residents to receive visits from relatives and loved ones during the winter months.
The Royal Star & Garter care home created the space using a £100,000 donation from the Scheinberg Relief Fund.
Chief executive of Royal Star & Garter Homes Andy Cole said: “We are so pleased that our residents will be able to benefit from continued visits from their loved ones.
“We know how much time with family boosts residents’ well-being and morale, and we’re delighted that visits will continue thanks to the generous support of Scheinberg Relief Fund.
“It will mean the world to our residents and their families.”
The new rooms will allow up to two visitors per resident without supervision, partitioned by a floor-to-ceiling pane of glass, and will be thoroughly cleaned, between visits.
A high-tech sound system will allow for more natural conversation, and will help those that are hard of hearing.
Indoor meeting rooms like this have also been built in Royal Star & Garter homes in Solihull and High Wycombe.
However, while Royal Star & Garter has been able to benefit from the support of a generous donor, it is aware that other organisations in the care home sector may struggle to meet the covid-secure criteria set out by the government.
The charity is one of over 60 organisations to sign up to the Visiting Care Homes campaign organised by the National Care Forum (NCF).
In an open letter to the health secretary Matt Hancock, it called banning of care home visits “an erosion of human rights” and said that care homes, should be supported in ensuring visits from friends and family can continue.
The campaign is also calling for care home visitors to be given “key worker” status to enable them to access regular testing.
“[The meeting room] is still not sufficient for some residents and we fully support the NCF’s campaign in calling for rapid testing in care homes, and for relatives to be given key worker status,” said Cole.
“Much more needs to be done to prevent hundreds of thousands of care home residents across the country being isolated from their families.”