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Innovative care home staff create ‘Relative Volunteer Army’ to permit visitors, trips out with relatives and even bedside visits!


Innovative care home staff create ‘Relative Volunteer Army’ to permit visitors, trips out with relatives and even bedside visits!

by Danielle Thompson (November 2020)

INNOVATIVE thinkers at a Southport care home have created a ‘Relative Volunteer Army’ to permit visitors, trips out with relatives and even bedside visits! 

Jonathan Cunningham, care manager at Birkdale Park Nursing Home created the ‘army’ with his relatives so that they were able to be legitimately swabbed and tested on a weekly basis. 

Becoming members of volunteer staff allowed him to permit essential visitor access for his relatives to see their loved ones. This includes indoor visits to a bedside of those who are bed-bound and even to sit with their loved one for a trip in the home’s rickshaw and enjoy a trip along the Southport Promenade. Normal PPE, hand washing and safety precautions are maintained. 

Mr Cunningham said: “While the rest of the UKs care homes maintain a ‘physical fortress’ preventing relatives from seeing their loved ones, we have bucked the trend. Sheer determination and innovation has allowed us to maintain precious relationships between relatives and their loved ones!

“I’m not going to sit and watch people’s lives ebb away in horrific isolation. These gorgeous people need affection and love; I the face of limited time. 

“We are all born to connect and we have used the opportunity to enable relationships not keep them distanced on the other side of a screen or window. COVID is not going away soon so we have to learn to live with it. This can be managed safely with a bit of imagination. Our residents need the love of their relatives for their mental and physical well-being.”

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