Rathfriland Manor creates unique way to visit loved ones

Barbara Boyd


Barbara Boyd



RATHFRILAND Manor Nursing Home has created a unique and exciting way for residents and relatives to visit one another.

Visiting to all nursing homes across Northern Ireland has been restricted to relatives from early March in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

However, there have been many efforts by local care homes through using technology for relatives to stay connected during lockdown.

Rathfriland Manor has been using Skype and Zoom calls for residents and have since went one step further by creating a visiting pod, which is set to open within the next week.

The pod, which adheres to all social distancing and sanitisation measures, will allow relatives to see their loved ones through a perspex screen in an allocated time slot.

Rachel McCaffrey, manager of Rathfriland Manor, spoke to The Outlook about the pod and how it will be used.

She said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic we stopped visitors just before Mother’s Day which was disappointing for both relatives and residents.

“However, this was a wise decision and in the meantime we have been using technology for families to stay connected as much as possible.

“However, this does not take the place of face-to-face meetings and we came up with a brainstorming idea of building the pod.”

A joinery team began work to the pod around two weeks ago and it has been built in one of the sitting rooms inside the home.

Rachel continued: “The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) will now come and inspect and improve it and it is ready to go apart from that.

“It will work out that between the hours of 11am and 4pm on Monday to Friday we will divide the time up into half-hour slots and it will allow eight residents a day to see their family members.”

The visitation times will have to be prearranged with the home and strict guidelines will also be adhered to.

“Only two people from the same household will be allowed to visit at a time and when people arrive they will have their temperatures taken.

“Assuming they are okay, they will then have to put a face mask on and they will be allowed access to the pod.

“Family members will have 20 minutes of a visitation time and 10 minutes will be spent sanitising the area and it will also be deep cleaned each day.”

Social distancing will be applied inside the pod and family members will be able to connect with their loved ones through a special screen.

Rachel continued: “We are following strict PHA guidelines and the pod will be managed on a controlled basis.

“However, we hope that this will be as personal and private as it can be, given the current circumstances.

“Residents who need to be will be supervised and those who don’t can be left alone and it will mean that those who are able to can enjoy some quality time with their loved ones.”

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