Staff move into Plymouth care home to protect residents from coronavirus in total lockdown

Staff at a Plymouth care home are moving into the home in an effort to protect residents from coronavirus.

The manager and 12 volunteers will be isolating alongside the 34 residents at Higher Park Lodge in Stoke from today (Monday 27 April).

All will be away from their families during the initial three-week lockdown, including five who are parents of young children.

The care home, in Devonport Park, has so far had no cases of coronavirus, but the team has agreed on the extreme measures to keep Covid-19 out.

Many of the residents, whose ages range from their 50s to their 90s, have dementia, which means it is impossible to maintain social distancing.

Care worker Sammy-Jo Webber said she had to explain to her seven-year-old daughter Laila-Rose why she would be away from home for three weeks.

The mum said: “Obviously she was upset, so was I, and so were all the other people leaving their families.

“But we do know that it is the right thing to do for our clients, our kids and our own families.”

Other care homes around the country have gone into total lockdown, but Higher Park is believed to be the first in Plymouth.

Manager Debbie Norman, 56, has continued to work at the home despite being classed as high-risk due to asthma.

Around a third of the workforce will live at the home, providing round-the-clock cover.

Lynn Tincler and her husband Geoffrey, from Mannamead, have visited Higher Park Lodge during the lockdown to wave through the window to Mr Tincler’s mother Edna, who has been a resident since December.

She says: "We are really grateful to the staff, because the news we have been listening to about care homes, and Edna being in that vulnerable age group, is quite scary.

“They are doing everything to protect the residents. It is a big sacrifice, especially as some of the carers have young families".

The care home, in Devonport Park, has so far had no cases of coronavirus. Credit: PA

The team at the care home have planned activities and games to keep everyone occupied and entertained during the total lockdown.

They include board games, pampering sessions, music and entertainment, a barbecue and film shows on a big screen.

Staff will continue to post videos from the home on Facebook privately for relatives.

The home has also bought two tablets so residents can video-call with their families.