A nursing home has come up with a novel way to keep residents Covid-19 free, while also allowing them to spend time with their loved ones over Christmas.
The 14 residents of St Fiacc’s House on the Laois/Carlow border had one resident's son come to their aid by building a visiting booth which came into use on Monday.
The nursing home on the Castlecomer Road in Graiguecullen is a low dependency supported care home that provides a residential home for 18 people and day care facilities for up to 20 people.
Craig Comerford - whose father Martin is a resident at the home - took on the task not only so he and his family could spend time with his father, but also so others could see their loved ones while remaining safe from contracting the virus.
The first visitor was Mr Comerford’s son Tommy, who got to see his grandfather from the safety of the booth for the first time in months.
Visits from their families have been the missing link
St Fiacc’s House manager Joan Doogue explained how the new booth has given everyone in the nursing home a real boost – just in time for Christmas.
“It has been a very challenging time for our residents because the majority of the last 10 months has been so unnatural,” she said.
“While we have done everything we can to promote their health and well-being, we are not their family.
“Visits from their families have been the missing link. The move back to Level 3 only enabled compassionate visits so we felt we had to do something because the moral was starting to drop.
“My niece sent me something similar to our visiting booth that she had seen on Facebook from Yorkshire. So I thought maybe we could do something like that.”
Ms Doogue approached Mr Comerford, who then built one for the nursing home free of charge.
“I was delighted with that. Our maintenance officer Eamon put the finishing touches to it and another of our staff members did the paint works and finishing touches.
“So it came together really well. Craig christened it by visiting his Dad on Sunday and Monday was our first official day. The residents are delighted.
“We supervise the visits at a distance but it gives the residents the privacy to be able to meet their loved ones in a safe environment. It’s a beautiful visiting booth which was also completed by our staff members Eamon, with art work completed by staff member Aneta.
“The booth will bring lots of joy to our residents and their families,” Ms Doogue said.