Care home vaccinations brought with them a certain light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, during the pandemic and through on-going restrictions, we knew how important it was for our residents to have regular contact with their families.

We trialled different approaches to digital contact, but nothing comes as close to personal interactions. While maintaining safety as the top priority, Commissioning Director, Gaye Clark, pulled out all the stops to create something new.

Introducing our COVID-secure visiting pod…

Say hello to our safe meeting space

The safety and wellbeing of our residents is always our first concern. However, we also understand that having in-person contact is crucial for the mental welfare of those living at Ashton Manor, and their families at home.

We needed a solution that would not compromise safety, but one that allowed residents to meet loved ones in comfortable yet secure setting.

So, we invested in a new ‘visiting pod.’

We wanted to create an environment that was as close to the real thing as possible, which is where the floor-to-ceiling glass screen plays an important part. The furniture layout also mirrors a living space which helps our families feel like they’re in the same room.

Our dedicated space for the pod means that relatives can enter and exit while avoiding the main doors. But what’s extra special about our pod – unlike window visits – is that no one has to stand outside battling the elements.

“We tried to keep up regular contact with loved ones via other routes, but nothing beats the personal touch.” Gaye explains, “The feedback from the pod has been amazing, the floor-to-ceiling screen makes it feel more inclusive while keeping people safe as possible.”

Keeping our residents safe

When new residents join us, either long-term or for short-term respite care, we ask them to isolate in their rooms for two weeks before mixing with other residents, a tough measure, but a necessary one. Residents and staff also undergo strict safety measures to ensure a secure environment. Gaye explains, “We’re following PHE (Public Health England) guidance by wearing full PPE, there are daily temperature checks for residents and the care team, and we also have weekly PCR (polymerase chain reaction) swab tests and LFT (lateral flow tests) swabs, potentially serving as an early warning system to detect COVID-19 outbreaks and prevent further spread of the virus.”

Even with rigorous testing, we knew it was important to create a visiting space in Ashton Manor.

Gaye visualised how the pod would work, found a suitable spot in the building, and brought her vision to life.

Yet safety is still our biggest concern. “We have pod cleaning coordinators who have a specific pod cleaning schedule they complete after each visit,” says Gaye.

Is this the future?

“The COVID-secure visiting pod will remain a permanent feature until we are able to return to normal visiting,” assures Gaye.

We respect that residents need to feel connected to their families through difficult times.

Gaye continues, “We have iPads and mobile phones on site to help people communicate, but we’re also big fans of traditional methods, we’re planning some old-fashioned letter writing sessions which I’m sure will be a real hit.”

For residents who struggle with reading and writing, our team are on hand to help.

Our ultimate aim is to deliver meaningful experiences. We know that when families can interact, a positive impact is created for both parties. “Staying connected is vitally important for our well-being, same goes for people living at Ashton Manor. What’s important to each resident is equally as important to us and we work to support each person is whichever way we can.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the COVID-secure visiting pod, please contact our reception for further information or to book a slot.

And if you would like to find out more about Ashton Manor or book a tour, you can call us on 01524 566 007 or email us at