Care home offers drive-through visits to reunite loved ones

A care home in Coatbridge is reuniting families by creating a drive-thru visiting centre.

A care home has created a drive-through visiting experience in a bid to safely reunite loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic.

Summerlee House Care Home, in Coatbridge, allows families to drive up to the car park and speak to relatives living in the care home.

Run by Balmer Care Homes, the facility has been Covid-19 free after shutting its doors before the national lockdown came into force.

With fast food drive-throughs reopening, owner Julie Balmer helped devise the idea to bring relatives together.

She said: “I don’t think anything can substitute seeing your family and the activities team have worked really hard trying to keep the mood and spirits of the residents good.

“We have 80 residents that live here and family is a big part of Summerlee and we have loving and supportive families who visit regularly and a lot of them every day.

“Everyone in the country is going through hardship at the moment but you really feel for the residents at this point in their lives being deprived of seeing their families and spending time together.”

As lockdown restrictions started to ease and fast food outlets opened up staff decided to facilitate a visiting area where families could safely see each other face-to-face.

The care home calls the project ‘We Are Meeting Again’ where residents are led out the care home, down the red carpet, to music and balloons and are seated at a segregated spot in the car park.

Families are then invited to drive up to a two-metre distance and speak with their loved ones from the car.

Resident Jack Watt, 89, was able to see his family again after months apart.

He said: “I’ve had a great day so far.

“It’s great to see my family again and I miss them very very much.”

“It’s great to see them face-to-face, and argue with them, that’s part of life.”