United Kingdom

Relatives can finally talk to loved ones in care homes as non-profit project makes sealed cabins

Since visits were banned, care homes have been forced to find novel ways to connect families with loved ones.

And these sealed pods show the lengths some have gone to.

The structures sit flush against the windows of care homes, creating a safe place for relatives to communicate via intercom with residents on the other side of the glass.

The pod allows visitor Lynsey to talk to a resident of Care for Veterans charity home

One pod has brought a great deal of happiness to the residents of the Care for Veterans charity home in Worthing, West Sussex.

Andy Neaves, head of the charity, said the pod, which is already in use, is ‘a real game-changer’.

The pods are the brainchild of Emma Joanne and Bruce Martindill, a builder and an artist who used their spare time during this year’s lockdowns to launch the SafeTime Pod project. 

Happy talk: Lynsey chats with resident Dudley 

They have now built pods for more than 30 homes across the UK.  

The SafeTime Pod project - which is a not-for-profit scheme - has grown from just two people to a team of 12 creative freelancers working a barn in Ashurst, West Sussex.

The team build all the pods by hand and conduct all the deliveries themselves and now have more than 30 pods installed nationwide from homes in Cornwall to Glasgow.

A further 25 Pods to be delivered before Christmas.

The project has received no funding or loans and has been entirely funded by the founding pair's own savings.

The SafeTime Pod is wheeled in place at the Care for Veterans charity home in Worthing, West Sussex

The pods create a safe place for relatives to communicate via intercom with residents on the other side of the glass. Pictured a Christmas themed pod

England's biggest care home providers have installed separating windows in specially-built garden rooms and annexes after Ministers said 'floor to ceiling' dividers were essential for indoor visits.

The new Covid-secure suites mean elderly residents can see relatives without having to sit outside or resort to video calls.

The team that make the Safe Pod with a Christmas themed pod

But families are still hoping the 'prison-style' rooms will not be needed by Christmas and that they will be allowed to kiss or hug each other for the first time in months.

This relies on the Department for Health and Social Care successfully distributing tens of thousands of coronavirus tests - which can be analysed on the spot and give a result in 30 minutes - to care homes across England instead.

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