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Emotional care home ‘drive-by’ reunites residents with family

PUBLISHED: 13:26 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:26 29 May 2020

Staff and residents outside Downham Grange care home greeting families. Picture: Downham Grange

Staff and residents outside Downham Grange care home greeting families. Picture: Downham Grange

Archant

A special drive-by saw residents of a Norfolk care home see their families for the first time since lockdown.

Eugene Nyamande,  operations manager,  is pictured with home manager Anna Wojtkowiak and Town Mayor Becky Hayes (right) .Picture: Downham GrangeEugene Nyamande, operations manager, is pictured with home manager Anna Wojtkowiak and Town Mayor Becky Hayes (right) .Picture: Downham Grange

As part of the 10th Clap for Carers event, residents at Downham Grange got to greet their relatives during an emotional drive-by on Thursday, May 28.

It was the first time in the last three months that they were able to see their families.

The Kingsley Healthcare run home on Clackclose Road in Downham Market, set up the event to celebrate the “positive news” that they were free of the coronavirus.

It comes after six residents died from Covid-19, but the home has now said they were given the all-clear on Friday, May 22 when all the coronavirus tests on residents and staff came back negative.

Resident Len Hobbs enjoys the celebration. Picture: Downham GrangeResident Len Hobbs enjoys the celebration. Picture: Downham Grange

More than 30 relatives turned up to the event at 8pm on Thursday, which was in line with Clap for Carers, stepping out of their cars to greet their loved ones from a safe distance.

Tim Fenton, whose mum Pat is a resident, said: “It was very nice to see mum after 12 long weeks. We have made numerous video calls but it’s not the same as seeing her.”

The town’s mayor, Becky Hayes, also joined the celebrations and met Downham Grange resident Margaret Walshe, who was Downham Market’s first lady mayor.

In her weekly mayoral bulletin, Mrs Hayes said she clapped outside the home to show her appreciation for all the care workers.

Resident Pat Fenton greets her family. Picture: Downham GrangeResident Pat Fenton greets her family. Picture: Downham Grange

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She said: “It was a lovely moment and the home made it possible for the residents to participate.

“I never cease to be amazed by the way people have adapted and the ingenious ways that have been found to carry on.”

Downham Grange has received a positive review from the Care Quality Commission on how it had handled the virus outbreak.

Former Downham Market mayor Margaret Walshe. Picture: Downham GrangeFormer Downham Market mayor Margaret Walshe. Picture: Downham Grange

Eugene Nyamande, Kingsley Healthcare’s director of compliance, said: “The final Clap for Carers was a fitting tribute to the staff at the home who have worked so hard to keep residents safe.

“We sadly lost six of our residents to Covid-19 but it is testament to the tremendous teamwork of staff that we are now free of the virus.”

He added that staff had worked hard to follow government guidelines to fight the virus.

He said: “The key things have been following robust infection control procedures and supporting staff to combat the virus through good team working.”


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