Care home hit by coronavirus outbreak surprises residents with snow machine before Christmas

A care home which was hit badly by a coronavirus outbreak has surprised its residents with a white Christmas by hiring a snow machine.

Staff at Cwm Cartref Care Home in Pontardawe, treated residents to their own winter wonderland on Tuesday.

The snow machine was placed outside the care home, with residents able to watch through the windows as staff showed them the snow while dressed up in their Christmas costumes.

Melanie Harris, Manager of Cwm Cartref Care Home said: "The home was hit quite badly around November 9 this year with Covid. It resulted in a loss of 14 of our residents.

"Morale in the home has been very low, as you can imagine. It's been quite a sad time for them, to be honest with you.

"We're eight weeks in now, restrictions have been lifted slightly to allow the residents to come back into the lounge and start enjoying some festivities around Christmas, so we thought to aid a little bit of fun, we'd use the snow machine, get staff involved, because obviously, there are no families able to visit the home now and just put on a bit of a show."

Wales was placed into a level 4 national lockdown on midnight on Saturday, with tighter restrictions put in place and people encouraged to work from home.

The Welsh Government has issued guidance on visits to care homes in Wales, stating that everyone living in a care home can have one designated visitor, and one deputy designated visitor.

It says a designated visitor is one person that someone living in a care home can choose to visit them indoors - this could be a family member, a friend or loved one.

If a designated visitor cannot visit, a deputy designated visitor can come instead.

The Welsh Government says that care homes should help everyone understand thathaving only one designated visitor is to help stop coronavirus from spreading.

Melanie Harris, Manager of Cwm Cartref Care Home continued: "We're facetiming a lot, we've gone into tier 4 so we keep facetiming all the families - we do it on a daily basis.

"Staff are allowed to use their mobile phones, because obviously, it's a lot for myself and the Deputy.

"But they're facetiming, they're phoning, we've taken photos. We've actually created a little video for them this year, so we're going to send that out to families as well, which is quite positive. They may need a box of tissues, but it's very very nice.

"We're going to have a Christmas pie evening on Christmas Eve, maybe have some wine and some Baileys - we're trying our best."