A CARE home has re-opened to visitors for the first time in six months with residents able to welcome family members in a new purpose-built summer house.

Barley View Care Home in Whitworth reopened to visitors on Thursday after closing on March 19, amid coronavirus infection fears.

Staff at the 28-bed home took the early decision to suspend all non-essential visits in order to protect residents and staff and limit the risk of infection.

The decision paid off with no confirmed cases among Barley View residents to date.

The summer house has been custom built to provide a welcoming and safe environment for relatives to enjoy face to face visits with loved ones.

Visitors and residents will be accommodated in separate partitioned sections of the summer house to minimise risk of infection.

Rather than feeling clinical or sterile, it is hoped that the summerhouse will create a holiday home feel while keeping all parties safe.

Jane Williamson, head of care at Barley View, said: “We hope to create a dignified, private ‘face-to-’face’ visit for each resident in a ‘home from home’ environment.

“Ideally, the resident and visitor after a time will no longer notice the glass partition dividing them and feel connected after such a long time apart.

“The new summer house will help protect residents from touch and aerial transmission of the virus and provide a massive boost to their emotional wellbeing and health.”

The news has been met with enthusiasm from all residents for whom, the strict lockdown measures have been especially challenging.

Resident Joan Laycock said: “My granddaughter lives up the road but she couldn’t come in and my grandson couldn’t come in. I can’t wait to go out and see them.

“When I came to Barley View at first, they used to come in and keep me company.

“My grandson thought it was great when he was sat up on my bed, being able to see the television.”

Having originally planned to welcome visitors in early August, the imposition of local restrictions for large parts of the North West on July 30 meant Barley View had to postpone visits in line with Government guidance.

Barley View’s visiting plan will be kept under constant review.

Visiting is strictly by appointment only and a health screening of all visitors will be carried out before admission.