Unique, COVID-secure visitor pods are allowing families to visit their relatives at a retirement village near Darlington.
Designed and created by the Middleton Hall Retirement Village, the pods are providing a safe way to reunite residents with families and friends for the first time since early March.
Middleton Hall MD, Jeremy Walford, said: “Our top priority has always been to keep residents safe and we started to put plans in place at the start of February.
“We considered socially distanced visits outdoors but these could prove difficult with our unpredictable British weather and for those with hearing difficulties.
“With the government lockdown easing and schools reopening in June we concluded there was also too much risk when infection levels are still high.
“A number of people spotted an article about a care home in the Netherlands who had a purpose-built pod outside and happily our maintenance team came to the rescue by building bespoke pods within each care service.”
Featuring Perspex screens with a contact-free microphone and loudspeaker system, each pod has an external entrance door for visitors, with residents arriving from within the building on the other side. Between bookings both sides are then disinfected.
Following the success of an initial trial pod at the end of May, the initiative has now been rolled out across all areas of the village community which is located at Middleton St George, near Darlington.