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Coronavirus: Mum and daughter reunited in Chigwell care home thanks to ‘summer house’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 July 2020

Mother and daughter Winnie Mulgrew and Margaret Godfrey were brought face to face after months of separation, thanks to a Chigwell care home’s innovative summer house. Picture: Oakland Care

Mother and daughter Winnie Mulgrew and Margaret Godfrey were brought face to face after months of separation, thanks to a Chigwell care home’s innovative summer house. Picture: Oakland Care

Archant

After months of separation a mother and daughter were reunited at a Chigwell care home thanks to a summer house which allows safe face-to-face visits.

The pair were the first ones to have a safe face-to-face visit. Picture: Oakland CareThe pair were the first ones to have a safe face-to-face visit. Picture: Oakland Care

Winnie Mulgrew, 92, who is a resident at Lambwood Heights care home was finally able to see her daughter Margaret Godfrey as they were the first pair to try out the innovative summer house.

The 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 preventative measures taken early on.

Like other care homes it closed its doors to all but essential visitors in March but staff have now set up a safe way to have some face-to-face visits again.

Margaret said: “It was the most joyful experience! I’d missed mum so much.

Winnie, a former dancer and Windmill Girl at the London theatre of the same name in the mid-1940s, entering her side of the summer house. Picture: Oakland CareWinnie, a former dancer and Windmill Girl at the London theatre of the same name in the mid-1940s, entering her side of the summer house. Picture: Oakland Care

“All the phone calls and video calls are great, but it’s just not the same as being able to see her.”

Winnie was brought to one side of the summer house and following a temperature check, Margaret was able to enter the other side with a clear screen separating the pair and they were able to talk through an intercom.

Families can book half hour appointments and the rooms are disinfected between each visit.

Home manager Sonia Kasese said the ability to bring families together after such a long period is benefiting everybody.

“It’s been amazing for our residents’ wellbeing, and for their families’ too.

“We have kept them in touch via Skype calls and FaceTime, but as Margaret says, it’s not the same as seeing your loved one in front of you.

“It is wonderful to be able to bring them together safely.”

The nurses cut a ribbon on both sides of the summer house for the inaugural visit.

Margaret said: “It helped having the staff there clapping and making it into a ceremony.

“It helped me keep it together but I did have to wipe my eyes a little bit.”

Margaret said she’s already booked her next appointment to see her mum, who was a former dancer and Windmill Girl at the London theatre of the same name in the mid-1940s.

She said: “All I’m waiting for now is when we can have a hug!”


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