Coronavirus-free Chigwell care home creates ‘summer house’ for safe visits

Lambwood Heights care home in Chigwell is creating a summer house to allow for safe visits. Picture:

Lambwood Heights care home in Chigwell is creating a summer house to allow for safe visits. Picture: Oakland Care - Credit: Archant

A new Chigwell care home has managed to remain coronavirus-free and has created a summer house to have safe face-to-face visits.

Lambwood Heights care home, run by Oakland Care, which opened in January, hasn’t had any Covid-19 cases because of the small number of residents and the preventative measures taken early on.

The home in Lambourne Road has capacity for up to 73 people but currently has 10 residents.

Starting in March the care home restricted movement so staff would only be dedicated to one floor and didn’t move around the building as usual.

Catering services normally pass through the entire building but under the new measures only one member of staff from each unit would step out to collect the food trolley and distribute it to residents.

Staff didn’t wear uniforms to work and clothes were laundered in house.

They also refused to take back residents to the care home from hospital until they came back with a negative Covid-19 test and pathology report and luckily everyone did.

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Temperature and physical checks were done in the ambulance when residents returned to the home before entering the building.

Chief executive officer Joanne Balmer said they have kept people in touch via video calls but know it’s not the same as being in the same space together, which is how they came up with the idea of the summer houses.

Joanne said: “Now that residents will be able to ‘see’ their loved ones, this will benefit everyone’s wellbeing.”

This week the home is receiving the bespoke summer house which will allow visitors to return in a safe space.

Visitors will book a half-hour slot and upon arrival at the care home they will remain in their car until a staff member tells them they are allowed in.

Residents will be escorted into one half of the cabin and their visitors will then be waved in to enter their half, and there will be a layer of protective glass separating them.

The summer house will be disinfected between each visit. Joanne said: “We know face-to-face visits are not the same as being able to physically touch your loved one but we know people are eager to see their family members and we hope this will help that.”