Worthing care home sets up new ‘visitor centre’

A Worthing care home has turned its summerhouse into an outdoor visitor centre so residents can continue to see their loved ones through the winter.

Heaton House, in Reigate Road, came up with the creative solution to allowing safe visits under current government restrictions.

The home has been hosting visitors in the summerhouse during the summer, as well as virtual visits via laptops and iPads, but has had to adapt as the temperature dropped.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Owner Sally Neil-Smith said: “It’s vital that we can offer visits to everyone who wants to come during this new lockdown period, so we have been prepared to do whatever we can.

A clear screen and a heating unit have been put in the summerhouse at Heaton House in Worthing

“I can’t praise my team enough for all the extra miles they have gone. For visitors who are happy to come inside the home, we now have a designated visitor area in the home where the visitor is separated from the resident by an extra large clear screen. We have also purchased comfy headphones and microphones so that any hearing difficulties can also be overcome.

“When a relative wanted to visit but not come in the home, we thought ‘why not use the summerhouse?’, so we also bought a portable clear screen for use in the summerhouse and a heating unit, and now visitors don’t even have to come inside the home when visiting.

“All visits are pre-booked in advance and the visitor can be let in through the side gate at the agreed time to find their loved one already inside our heated summerhouse behind the clear screen. The visitors love it and we are really pleased that it’s been such a hit.

“Keeping in touch with elderly loved ones is so important in normal times and this has only increased with the new lockdown. We felt we had to do what we could to make sure all types of visits could go ahead.”