New Forest Colten Care home residents doing brilliantly
Following Lockdown face to face visits are still challenging, but safe visiting protocols are enabling happy reunions
The past few months have been challenging for care home residents and their families, everywhere. Lockdown meant an immediate cessation of face-to-face visits at the very time relatives desperately wanted to support their loved ones. Thanks to early planning Colten Care with brilliantly capable and caring staff has managed the brunt of the crisis and also provided clear and consistent communications throughout which helped everybody to keep calm. Now whilst hugs and kisses are still of course not possible, a safe visiting protocol across the 21 Colten Care homes is enabling real life reunions; families are responding with their own votes of confidence.
Outstanding Kingfishers in New Milton and Sue and Bryan's story
Sue Pritchard’s husband Bryan lives at Colten Care’s Kingfishers care home in New Milton, rated Outstanding in successive inspections by care sector regulator the Care Quality Commission.
Like families across the country, the couple found it hard to accept the loss of visiting opportunities due to lockdown. For three months they relied on phone calls and Skype. That was until the introduction of Covid safe visits involving a specially designed see-through screen positioned in the home’s entrance way. Sue was one of the first relatives to take advantage of the new protocol. “It was wonderful,” she says. “We have been married for 44 years and have never been apart for this length of time. It was a thrill to be with him again, very exciting. We chatted away quite happily and it’s reassuring that we can look forward to the next one. Of course it has been an upsetting time but the safe visit protocol is marvellous. These meetings are so important.”
Bryan in safe hands; Sue feels listened to and reassured
Sue feels the home’s overall handling of the Covid crisis has reinforced her view that Bryan is in safe hands. “I am reassured about the home being a safe haven. That comes from the regular communications and updates we receive which are open and transparent. The reassurance came early. They were absolutely onto any initial questions about, for example, PPE, food supplies, GPs’ visits and hospital discharge – all the things you would be thinking about as a relative. And we are always encouraged to respond if we have any questions. I feel listened to.”
It has been a similar experience for Nick Amor whose mother Evelyn has lived at Colten Care’s Castle View home in Dorchester for just over three years. Like Sue, Nick was overjoyed to hear of the safe visit protocol. “I had been visiting three times a week,” he recalls. “It was sad I couldn’t see mum because of lockdown. It has been so lovely to see her again. We’ve now done the second visit. We hadn’t seen each other for so long. She looked well, she’s clearly eating well, and she was glad to see me.”
Nick is full of praise for the way Castle View has dealt with and communicated about its handling of the Covid risk. “They’ve done an excellent job, outstanding. There have been no cases of the virus at the home. The staff couldn’t have done any more. I can’t fault them at all.”
Families newer to Colten Care have likewise been impressed with its approach. Janice Perkins’ mother Terry only moved to the Lymington home Belmore Lodge at the end of January 2020.
High standards of ex-nurse Janice are met too
“I’m an ex-nurse and so was on the look-out for anything amiss but it was all fine,” says Janice. “Since then, I’ve continued to be completely reassured. I was going in most days before lockdown. Mum found the separation very difficult to start with. Since then, it’s been fine. While it has been nice weather she has been able to go out into the garden. She loves to be outside. It has made a great difference to her. Phone calls and Skype have been very helpful too, and now we have been able to have our first shielded visit. I was able to see that she looks good.”
Regular communications greatly allay concerns
Janice says any concerns she had about the wider media portrayal of care homes during the pandemic have been allayed by regular communications from Belmore Lodge and Colten Care generally. “We get all the information we need and if you have any queries, they get sorted straight away. I would certainly recommend Belmore Lodge to others. From my perspective I am happy with it. I appreciate the staff. They are doing brilliantly.”
Find out more about Colten Care's New Forest homes online
With more than 30 years’ experience, Colten Care is an award-winning family-owned care home company. It has 21 quality care homes covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex and offers a range of services spanning residential, nursing and dementia care.
Colten Care operates six residential nursing and care homes in the New Forest, including three in Lymington: Belmore Lodge, Court Lodge and dementia specialist Linden House. There are also homes in Brockenhurst (Woodpecker's), New Milton (Kingfisher's) and Mudeford (Avon Reach). Click on the links to find out more about each home...
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