Camden care homes have found a way of allowing the families of their residents to visit in a covid-friendly and safe way. Care homes are responsible for looking after some of the most vulnerable in the community and unfortunately, all over the country, care homes have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic due to how weak most of the residents are. 

 

As the pandemic continues, like other businesses and schools, care homes have been making adaptations to their care system to allow for things to cary on as normal as possible. Two Camden care homes – Rathmore House and Compton Lodge, both in Swiss Cottage – are constructing ‘pods’ in their gardens.

 

These sealed visiting pods work with intercom systems which allow people to have time with their loved ones in person but without putting them in danger.

 

With visits confined to outdoors at care homes, the pods being created at Rathmore House and Compton Lodge are expected to be complete in the next few weeks. Care homes have managed the pandemic as best as they can but what are the more permenant/ long term solutions for care homes?

 

On 16th November, amid growing criticism of delays in introducing safety measures for care homes, the health secretary Matt Hancock announced he is hoping to roll out mass Covid-19 testing across the UK's care homes by Christmas as he admitted the government has made mistakes in their coronavirus pandemic response. Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Hancock admitted testing was the key to allow people to see their loved ones.“This rollout will be a challenge. We have got to make sure the right rules and protocols are in place so that the testing keeps people safe.”

 

The pilot scheme is currently taking place in 20 homes in Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon – all areas currently with a low-infection rate – with regular testing for one family member or friend per resident, either at home, or a rapid-result test at the home itself.

 

It will require a huge expansion to reach all 16,000 care homes in England, and Mr Hancock suggested that there was no desire to change the law to allow him to force homes to act.

 

Nadra Ahmed, of the National Care Association, said: “Every day without tests is another lost opportunity for people who haven't got long left in life to see their families.”

 

Camden is one of several London boroughs where care homes are taking action to find a compromise for its residents who have gone so long - since the start of the pandemic - without seeing family or friends. Until nation-wide mass testing of the virus is a successful system, utilised by all the care homes, we can expect individual homes to make these kinds of small but meaningful changes that benefit the lives of the families they look after.