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Care Home Refused To Close During Lockdown, Branding Boris' Visiting Rules 'Abhorrent'

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Care Home Refused To Close During Lockdown, Branding Boris' Visiting Rules 'Abhorrent'

A care home which refused to close to visitors during lockdown has revealed they've had hairdressers, entertainers and even taken residents out on rickshaws throughout the pandemic.

Jonathan Cunningham, Manager at Birkdale Care Home in Southport welcomed the Government announcement that care home residents would be allowed a regular appointed visitor from March 8th - but added the measures don't go far enough.

The former army Major has openly dismissed Boris Johnson's guidance over care home visiting, branding the tales of relatives seeing their loved ones through a glass window or having to wear rubber gloves to hold their hand 'a complete abhorrence'.

The Birkdale Care Home in Southport has allowed multiple visitors and kept residents from feeling isolated by bringing in entertainers - all without suffering an outbreak of Covid (Credit: Caters)
The Birkdale Care Home in Southport has allowed multiple visitors and kept residents from feeling isolated by bringing in entertainers - all without suffering an outbreak of Covid (Credit: Caters)
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Instead, the self-confessed 'rebel' has allowed multiple visitors and kept residents from feeling isolated by bringing in comedians, putting on live music, and taking the residents out in rickshaws with their relatives - all without suffering an outbreak of Covid.

He said: "This is the care home that refused to lockdown.

"We take our residents out in rickshaws with their loved ones next to them so they can get out and enjoy the fresh air.

"We've hired an activities coordinator who takes them out in mini buses and I've learned how to play the ukulele so I can do a live show every week.

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"What we are doing here is the most heartwarming, uplifting, and inspiring thing you could wish to be involved with.

"I have done some incredible things in the forces but this is the most fulfilling job I have ever had.

"You can't put a price on it, seeing the joy in people's faces and the family members who thank us for giving them that time with their loved ones in the final months of their life.

"From the start I have fiercely disagreed with people meeting on the other side of a pane of glass, I thought it was simply cruel.

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"I thought it was a disgrace to ask people to hold their mum's hand through a glove.

"I'm afraid we have people dying up and down the UK who haven't seen their families in the last year.

Jonathan Cunningham, Manager at Birkdale Care Home, openly criticised Boris Johnson's guidance on care home visiting (Credit: Caters)
Jonathan Cunningham, Manager at Birkdale Care Home, openly criticised Boris Johnson's guidance on care home visiting (Credit: Caters)

"That is a complete abhorrence, there is nothing you can say to me which will make that justifiable.

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"Why the government felt they had to legislate to do what I think most homes should have been doing anyway is beyond me, I accept that you have to start somewhere but I feel it doesn't go far enough."

At the very start of the pandemic, Jonathan feared government guidance was not moving quickly enough and pulled Birkdale into full lockdown three weeks before the rest of the country followed.

But after six weeks, he decided to bring the home out of lockdown and set about doing his own risk assessment to come up with ways that would allow the residents to live as normally as possible.

During the last 12 months, Birkdale has only seen two cases of Covid within the home, both of which occurred during the first peak of infections in April.

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But while some doubters have even reported Jonathan to the Care Quality Commission, the care home manager insists the results of disobeying lockdown speak for themselves.

The care home in Stockport has allowed visitors and entertainers during the pandemic and has only reported to Covid cases (Credit: Caters)
The care home in Stockport has allowed visitors and entertainers during the pandemic and has only reported to Covid cases (Credit: Caters)

He said: "Some people will think 'maybe you have just been lucky'.

"But I'm extremely proud of our infection control and protocol.

"We did get reported to the CQC.

"Someone took umbrage with what we were doing and said we were breaking restrictions but I invited them in to see for themselves and assess whether there was any risk infection or danger and they came in and quickly agreed that we were not in breach of anything.

"Our residents sleep better, they eat better, they are just different people altogether.

"There's lots you can do with a bit of imagination."

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Life News, News, Life, Coronavirus

Gregory Robinson
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