A NEW initiative which enables a family member to visit and support care home residents has been hailed a ‘great success’ by local families.
Working to find ways to enable safe visiting, health officials have developed a way to facilitate visits through the designation of ‘care partners’ at homes.
The scheme requires relatives to take on a more defined practical role by becoming a care partner and to provide additional support to the resident within the home.
Typically, a care partner is a close family member or friend who has a long-standing relationship with a resident and plays an essential role on a regular basis in maintaining a resident’s health and wellbeing.
The early success of the scheme has been seen at Silverdale Care home in Castlederg where there are currently four care partners in the home.
Sharon McMorron is a care partner to her mother, Morga Matthews, and has so far been delighted with the rollout of the programme.
She said, “We would always have visited my mum in Silverdale where she has received such great care but with all the necessary restrictions in place due to Covid-19, we were only really getting to see her from behind a screen.
“When the care partner scheme was introduced, I was delighted to get the opportunity to now come in as a care partner, as are all my family. This means so much to us,” Sharon continued.
“My mum has late-stage Alzheimer’s’ Disease, but I know that when she hears my voice she knows I am there and it means so much just to hold her hand and let her know I am there to take personal care of her.
“Doing all the small things that we know is so good for Mum’s wellbeing and being able then to feed back to my father and siblings means so much,” said Sharon.
Alice Reynolds has been a resident in Silverdale Care Home for four years and now enjoys seeing her daughter, Susan Smith who is a her care partner.
Susan explained, “I would have been in seeing mummy every day at Silverdale until that had to stop due to Covid-19.
“The home is so good and put things like Facetime in place to communicate but my mummy has vascular dementia and it just was not the same.
“Thankfully in recent months the opportunity to become a care partner was launched and I didn’t have to be asked twice.
“In the early stages I would have been very apprehensive about the possibility of bringing Covid into the home but with the home’s support and training, it has been fantastic and now getting my Covid-19 test every week has become as regular to me as brushing my teeth.
“I must say the whole experience has been incredibly positive and it has been excellent coming into care for my mummy twice a week originally and now that is increasing too.
“Also, the opportunity to get the vaccine is another huge positive in all the support which has been given. I just feel so privileged to have been given the opportunity to be a care partner and now I have new hope for the future with all that is happening,” said Susan.
Any relatives interested in becoming a care partner should speak to their care home manager to discuss the initiative and the process in more detail.