IT HAS been a year to forget for all of us, but the Christmas spirit remains well and truly alive in a Radnorshire town where a care home is connecting residents with their families.
Crosfield House, a 64-bed nursing home caring for both general residents and those suffering with dementia in and around Rhayader, has converted the home’s library into a state-of-the-art visitor’s room so families can spend time with their elderly and vulnerable relatives – and even hold their hands thanks to bespoke rubber gloves.
They may look like scientists in a lab, given the material the gloves are made out of, the nature of living in a global pandemic and having to socially distance behind a perspex screen, but Crosfield House is leeting isolated inhabitants see, speak to and touch their loved ones.
Two such families are Beryl Griffiths, who has been able to receive visits from her son John and daughter in law Gail; and Robert Roberts who has been able to spend some quality time with daughters Ruth and June.
“Crosfield House has created in my opinion a first-class visitors room given the current climate which care homes are experiencing,” said care home manager Wayne Rees.
Crosfield had applied for a ‘visiting pod’ similar to the one constructed at Wylesfield Care Home in neighbouring Llandrindod Wells. The purpose-built two storey homes are part of a £3m pilot by the Welsh Government which covers the procurement, installation and lease of up to 100 visiting pods, to allow residents to receive visits from their families, especially important around the festive season.
But Crosfield House decided to improvise. “We were able to adapt our home’s library to create a meaningful area for our residents’ families to visit,” said Wayne, who revealed the home’s visiting room has been operational since the end of the Welsh firebreak lockdown at the start of November.
“Our room at Crosfield House gives everyone the opportunity to hold each other’s hands using bespoke gloves which have been adapted within the room.
“We have been carrying out internal visits post the most recent firebreak lockdown and feedback has been amazing.
“We’ve received nothing but praise for our room and its facilities which have ensured that we are doing everything we can to meet the wellbeing and mental health needs of not just our residents but their relatives and extended family.
“We are extremely proud of what we have created as by having this facility it is making the area as homely and normal as possibly during these challenging times.
“Due to strict screening and cleaning processes we have in place it does limit the number of visits we can carry out daily, however, we have been averaging five visits per day.
“We started using the room on November 11 and we have been flexible with the time the residents and families spend together and it is very much on an individual basis. Some have 30 minutes together, some go on for much longer.
“Prior to having this internal area we made good use of our summer house in our gardens which worked well, however, given the time of year our indoor visiting area has come at the right time.”
More festive treats are expected after the Christmas holidays as it is hoped Crosfield residents will be among the first in the county to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
Wayne added: “I also believe we are going to be one of the first homes to be vaccinated in Powys now in the new year, we are awaiting confirmation of this – maybe some more positive news to report on after Christmas.”