Milton Keynes care home celebrates year in the making, post-lockdown family reunion

This care home in Milton Keynes has been welcoming relatives back to visit their loved ones following changes to government restrictions on March 8.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:42 pm

Ashby House Care Home residents have been receiving much-needed, post-lockdown visits from one designated relative per person.

Chung Chum is one of those happy residents and has just had his first in-person visit from his wife, Joyce, in time for Easter.

Chung who is 82, has been married to Joyce for 49 years, and until this visit the pair hadn't held hands in a year.

Chung Chum and his wife Joyce

Care staff at Ashby House led Joyce to Chung’s bedroom which was full of family photos.

Joyce was able to update Chung on how the family was getting on, including the youngest members of the extended Chum family.

To survive this year of severe separation the couple have leant on modern technology and restrictive socially-distanced visits to maintain some semblance of normality throughout the pandemic.

The care home staff were able to establish garden visits and and organise Skype calls, but it was not the same as being in the same room and holding hands.

Joyce commented, “It is so nice to be able to come into the home again and see him properly”.

Barchester Healthcare, which runs Ashby House, is using strict protocols to ensure a safe and cautious approach is used for home visits.

All visitors are required to have a negative Lateral Flow Device test result and wear the PPR provided before entering the home. There are infection control measures and social

distancing in place for every visit and, although hand holding is allowed for the first time in a year, it is still not recommended.

General Manager, Wojciech Kuczkowski, said: “We are delighted we can welcome family members for indoor visits again. This is the first cautious step towards having the buzz of visitors in our home again. It was wonderful to see Chung’s reunion with Joyce. She visited every week before the pandemic and we hope we can get back to that again soon. The whole team found Chung and Joyce’s visit emotional. Chung moved to our home in January 2020 is a wonderful member of the Ashby House community."

Wojciech went onto explain why Shung has proved such a popular member of the home and how his cultural experiences have enhanced the atmosphere, he added: "Chung’s Chinese heritage is really interesting and he led a Tai Chi session for other residents as he was an instructor when he was younger.

"We have a booking system to ensure family visits are well organised. For people who are not able to come inside the home, or chose not to yet, we are pleased to continue visits in our Covid-safe visiting suite or in our lovely gardens when the weather is fine.

"We also support residents with video calls as another way to maintain relationships with loved ones. We hope we can do something special for Chung and Joyce’s 50th wedding anniversary in June.”

Ashby House’s life enrichment programme has continued to provide residents with a daily choice of enjoyable physical, mental, creative and spiritual activities throughout

the past year. The home is safely welcoming new residents for short term respite care or permanent stays in their residential, nursing and dementia communities, with

clear admission protocols including a transition period to keep everyone safe. Wojciech, the General Manager, welcomes calls on 01908 696676, from anyone who would like to know more about the care available at Ashby House.