Welcoming family garden visits to our care home in Swanage

Published: Tuesday 30th June 2020

Like all care and nursing homes across the country, residents at our care home in Swanage have had their lives turned upside down by lockdown restrictions. Limited family visits, entertainers cancelled, no trips out – life has changed a lot in a short space of time, affecting many of the things residents hold most dear.

But the team at our residential care home in Swanage, Dorset has risen brilliantly to the challenges posed by lockdown. They’ve worked hard to keep residents’ spirits up during the coronavirus outbreak, while adhering to strict hygiene and PPE protocols.

Gainsborough Care Home in Swanage - Resident With Care Staff

New ways for residents to stay connected with their families and friends

The team has found new ways for residents to keep in touch with families, friends and the outside world. There have been lots of cards and letters – ‘snail mail’ has seen a resurgence. But residents have also embraced new technology. Many residents  who have never had a mobile phone have been using video calls on phones and tablets. With the support of the care team they’ve been chatting ‘face to face’ with family and friends.

Gainsborough is extremely fortunate to have its own minibus. Ordinarily it gives the team more options and scope for activities and trips out. But with trips off-limits, the team and the Gainsborough residents have come to appreciate the home’s own environment, outside and in.

Loving our outside space

Care homes in Swanage are lucky to be on the sunny Dorset coast, enjoying a mild climate and plenty of sunshine.

During lockdown the lovely garden at Gainsborough has really come into its own. At Gainsborough there’s plenty of space for lots of the home’s residents in the garden, with a large lawn, summerhouse, birdfeeders and lots of pots and flower borders.

Being able to spend time outside has made such a positive difference during lockdown. Whether that’s sitting outside, feeling the sun on your face, taking a stroll around the garden, or planting up new pots.

Fish pond external Swanage care home

Family visits in the garden

Having a garden means the home can now welcome pre-booked outside family visits again, albeit at a safe distance of at least 2m, and with a few stipulations to minimise the risk.

The guidelines include:

  • Having a visit last a maximum of an hour. This is so we can include visits for as many residents as possible
  • Limiting a visit to two family members. This helps us maintain social distancing and limit the risk of infection
  • Holding visits outside
  • Visitors coming equipped with face masks.

Home-grown produce

Residents at our care home in Swanage have also had a lot of fun getting their hands dirty in the garden. Members of the local Swanage community kindly donated vegetable seedlings, and residents have planted them out in the garden, making sure to water them on dry and sunny days.

Gainsborough’s chef is hoping to be able to incorporate some home-grown vegetables into his menus over the coming weeks. Growing even a few vegetables in the care home’s garden helps our Swanage care home reduce its food miles.

Gainsborough’s team spirit

Registered manager Louise van Dorn recently joined the Gainsborough team.

I’ve been so impressed by the positive attitude and dedication of the team here, especially during the coronavirus outbreak. The team spirit at Gainsborough is strong – it feels like a family here.

We’re so grateful for the support of families, friends and our local community. We’ve been sent lots of messages and heartfelt gifts such as handmade creams, soaps and chocolates as a sign of their appreciation! Knowing that people are thinking of us, and wishing us well, gives the team – and the residents – a massive boost.

Call us on 01929 422 500 to arrange a visit or for an informal chat. We’d love to introduce you to the home, our staff and our residents.