TWO brand new visiting lounges have been unveiled at two Dorset care homes with measures in place to reunite residents with family safely.

Encore Care Homes has announced the new “bespoke” rooms for Great Oaks in Bournemouth and Oakdale in Poole.

The rooms are partitioned with an airtight glass screen to ensure the safety of residents, relatives and care teams.

Opening in time for half-term, the rooms allow up to six people of any age to come and visit a relative safety and comfort.

There is also an intercom system and hearing loop to allow residents and their visitors to speak with each other easily. Both sides of the rooms are deep cleaned between each visit.

Visitors enter and exit from outside the home to minimise the risk of infection. While residents access the room from a different door inside the homes.

“I can almost touch him and it’s the next best thing without breaking any rules. It’s reassuring and certainly better this way,” said Dorothy, a Great Oaks relative.

Sarah, another relative said: “It’s nice and cosy inside and we can finally bring the grandchildren. My mother hasn’t seen them since the beginning of the year and it’s much more comfortable than a garden visit.

“The video-calls that you’ve been doing have been brilliant, but this is much more relaxed and the best interaction we can have at this time.

We were anxious at first about how my mother would react to seeing us all, but it’s been wonderful and the best option to safely spend time together.”

Lindsay Rees, of Encore Care Homes said: “Restricted visiting has been such a challenge for our residents and relatives, and we are immensely grateful for their understanding and patience during these difficult times.

“We have worked very hard on this project to create a warm and comfy place to re-establish regular visiting and ensure that contact with loved ones can be as easy and close to normal as possible.”

Mike Lyons, managing director of Encore Care Homes said: “This custom-made installation fills us all with immense pride. The care teams in our care homes have fully embraced the flexibility that the Visiting Lounges now offer our residents. It forms part of our ongoing commitment to providing the best possible environment for our residents now and for the future.”