RESIDENTS and relatives at a care home will now be able to stay connected this winter thanks to a visiting suite.

Barchester Healthcare, the company that runs the home, Challoner House care home in Eastleigh, has implemented the new suite.

The suite allows residents to continue to spend time with their loved ones for the autumn and winter seasons in addition to the outdoor visiting that has been on offer for those able for many months.

The company says balancing resident wellbeing and safety is at the forefront of its thinking and they understand how important it is for residents and their family and friends to be able to spend time together in the safest way possible.

The visiting suite has been recently adapted from a room which is accessible internally by residents and externally by visitors.

It is said to be similar to a living room with comfortable furnishings and heating.

An intercom system is also fitted so residents can clearly communicate, and engage in conversation, whilst being able to see their friends and family through a Perspex glass divider fitted for safety to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Sarah Hayman, General Manager at the home, said: “The visiting suite has been a much welcomed development for our residents at Challoner House to continue to receive much looked forward to visits from their loved ones, as the weather changes.

"Alongside the continued offer of outdoor visiting, the visiting suite visits are well organised, and a lot of safety measures have been put in place to keep everyone safe.

"It was wonderful to see how happy it made the residents and their relatives in a warm and cosy environment.”

Infection control protocols and safe social distancing are in place, including a hand sanitizer station before entry.

Cleaning at Challoner House care home will take place after each visit to ensure chairs, seats, hard surfaces including windowsills, and the Perspex glass divider are wiped down appropriately.

Barchester Healthcare hope to allow visits again as normal once it is safe to do so following government guidance.