A CARE home boss has praised his team for their dedication to more than 20 residents with dementia during the coronavirus pandemic.

Families and friends missing physical contact with their loved ones at The Lodge have also been praised for their support and patience at such a difficult time.

More than 20 people live at The Lodge in Heslington which cares for people with dementia-related conditions.

Steven Davis, business development director, said: “They are copying very well. I was trepidatious but no staff or residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Staff use technology to allow family members to be able to do video calls with loved ones. They have sent news letters out to people and had regular contact. Some residents don’t want to do Facetime, but a family might want a call to update them or come and stand at the windows to see them.

“We are trying to support families. A lot of families used to come in quite regularly, do local trips around the park, sit in the garden, or have a meal with their loved one or a cup of tea. It [lack of contact] is very difficult but people know it is for everyone’s safety.”

Mr Davis said The Lodge had been on ‘an improvement journey’ since the Care Quality Commission rated it ‘inadequate’ at its last inspection in 2019. Reasons included the poor condition of bedrooms and communal areas, low staff morale, and extended periods for residents without any staff engagement.

He said The Lodge made a number of positive changes since then, and he was very confident the CQC would give an improved rating at the next possible inspection.

Changes include new staff, including a new manager, Sue Saville, refurbished many of the rooms, and the appointment of a dedicated activities co-ordinator.

“We’ve made a massive difference to the culture, the rooms and the teams. Now the team is very strong and happy.”

He added: “We did an action plan and have made sure we are going over and above what it was before. The home is transformed. You have to be careful you don’t dwell on legacy. We used feedback and comments from family and friends to help shape and improve The Lodge. They are very supportive and want the best for their loved ones.”

The Lodge has increased the hours of its activities coordinator since lockdown, to support residents’ wellbeing and ensure there are staying active and engaged, while a new dementia-friendly cafe, with specialist equipment and sensory items, has been hailed a success.

“It has come into its own during this period,” said Mr Davis. “It is a dedicated space and home from home. They can sit in a group in there or on their own, enjoying a coffee.”

A recent highlight for staff and residents was the home’s VE Day commemorations, he added. The home was decked with bunting, staff dressed in clothes from that era, and they had refreshments in the garden.