The first ‘visiting pods’ providing extra visiting space in care homes have been delivered this week.
The £3m pilot, which covers the procurement, installation and lease of up to 100 visiting pods, will see almost 80 units being installed and ready to use before Christmas.
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Care, Julie Morgan, said that the arrival of the care home visiting pods will help some of our most vulnerable people safely spend valuable time with family and friends.
“Together with the start of the vaccine roll-out to care home residents, we are seeing a glimmer of light at the end of what has been a long tunnel,” she said.
“I want to thank our social care staff for the fantastic lengths they have gone to keep their residents safe.”
Wylesfield, a residential care home in Llandrindod Wells operated by Shaw Healthcare, was one of the first to receive a pod.
The purpose-built two storey home provides accommodation for 27 people, including people living with dementia and respite care.
Rosina Mayer, 97, has lived in the area for more than 40 years and has two sons, six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Although part of her family now lives in Spain, one of her sons, Richard, still lives in Llandrindod Wells.
“Having the pod will make us part of the community again, instead of feeling like we’re being shut away,” she said.
“It will be different to waving through the window and it will be certainly be warmer than meeting up in the garden. I do feel lucky to be here at Wylesfield, but it feels like we’ve been living a different life for most of the year and everyone is looking forward to getting back to normal.”
Lowri Owen, manager of Wylesfield, said that their residents and their families were “so excited” since hearing they were going to be having a visiting pod at Wylesfield.
“Not being able to meet in person with their loved ones has been one of the hardest things for lots of our residents during the pandemic, so being able to offer a safe way to allow people to do that is just fantastic,” she said.
“Our team has been doing everything they can to keep our communities safe, while also trying to ensure families can stay in touch. The video calls have been brilliant, but being able to have face-to-face contact between residents and families is so important to the wellbeing of our residents, and something I know their families will be really grateful for.”
The visiting pod at Wylesfield has been supplied and installed by Portakabin.
Robert Snook, director and general manager of Portakabin said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have worked closely with the NHS and governments across the UK to provide a variety of buildings and continue to offer solutions when and where they are needed most.
“With the buildings we have designed for the Welsh Government, we hope to allow a glimpse of normality into the lives of many by enabling families and loved ones to come together safely in the care home environment. Our team has worked tirelessly to deliver 30 separate facilities across Wales and we are delighted with the results.
“Portakabin regularly works with our governments and the NHS and we’re proud to be able to support our nation’s healthcare system at this incredibly challenging time.”
The first pilot to test the roll-out of vaccinations to care homes started yesterday [Wednesday] in Mold, Flintshire – just over a week after the first vaccines were administered to health, social care and care home staff at special centres across Wales.