The care home that proves testing WORKS: How residents at one home in Lancashire can be surrounded by loved ones after bosses offer routine Covid tests to family members
- Move at the Kepplegate home in Poulton-le-Fylde has enabled face-to-face visits
- Care home resident Audrey able to celebrate turning 90 with family by her side
- The home has not had a single case of coronavirus since the pandemic began
- Care quality manager said of the residents: ‘The smiles on their faces says it all’
Beaming in a crown and birthday sash, care home resident Audrey celebrates turning 90 in style – and with her family by her side.
She was able to spend the day surrounded by the people she loves after the bosses at her residence took it upon themselves to offer routine weekly testing to family members at the start of October.
The move at the Kepplegate home in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, has enabled face-to-face visits with no need to be separated by prison-style screens.
And Audrey was able to enjoy opening her presents and sharing cake with her daughter Shelly and son-in-law Mark.
Party time: Audrey, a resident at the Kepplegate home in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, celebrates her 90th birthday with cake brought in by her daughter Shelly
Audrey, pictured at her 90th birthday party, as she was able to enjoy opening her presents and sharing cake with her daughter Shelly and son-in-law Mark
The home, which has allowed indoor socially distanced visits since July, has not had a single case of coronavirus since the pandemic began.
Adam Purnell, care quality manager at the home, said the successful experience demonstrates why all care homes should have access to rapid lateral-flow tests, which give results within minutes.
Mr Purnell said: ‘The impact on our residents of seeing their loved ones in person has been enormous.
‘It means the world to them and their faces light up with joy. The smiles on their faces says it all.
‘Since the beginning of October, we offered routine weekly testing to relatives. It has made a huge difference and they now feel much more comfortable coming to visit.
‘By the end of the year with rapid testing, we will hopefully allow relatives to hug and hold hands. It breaks my heart that as a carer I am allowed to give one of my residents a hug but government guidelines mean their sons or daughters can’t.
Audrey’s son-in-law Mark, during a face-to-face visit. The care home in Lancashire has not had a single case of coronavirus since the pandemic began
Open wide! Care home quality manager Adam Purnell carries out a swab test. He said: ‘Since the beginning of October, we offered routine weekly testing to relatives’
Seeing results: Mr Purnell brought in testing to allow proper visits. He commented: ‘The impact on our residents of seeing their loved ones in person has been enormous’
‘We know these rapid tests work and the benefits of having a test straightaway and telling visitors whether they’re positive of negative is absolutely priceless.
‘The Government is trialling the use of rapid tests in other areas – for students and in Liverpool – so it makes absolutely no sense that they have not already rolled them out to care homes.’
He added: ‘Our visits are carefully managed and we decontaminate all areas. The majority are socially distanced, unless someone is coming to the end of life.
‘I don’t believe well-managed visits pose any infection risk. The coronavirus outbreaks in the first wave weren’t through visitors – it was through hospitals discharging Covid-positive patients into care homes.’
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