A 93-year-old care home resident got to meet her great grandson for the first time through a glass window after months of shielding from coronavirus.
Betty Higginbotham, who lives in a care home in Watford, Hertfordshire, was initially unable to meet the latest addition to her family when little Freddy was born during the lockdown.
Pensioners at the Prince Michael of Kent Court were unable to have visitors during the height of the pandemic as they are one of the most at risk groups in society.
But Betty was finally reunited with her granddaughter Charlotte and great granddaughter Ava when they sat in a glass pod and she got to meet baby Freddy.
Betty was one of the first residents to use the pod and was overjoyed to meet her great grandson.
She said: “It was wonderful to meet little Freddy at last and be reunited with my granddaughter Charlotte and my great granddaughter Ava.
“He is such a dear little soul and he was so calm, like his lovely mum. I’ve been longing to meet him.”
Care home staff closed their doors to all but essential visitors before lockdown to protect its residents and staff made sure those living in the home had regular contact with their families by phone or video call.
The home was among the first in the country to install a COVID-19 secure visitor pods, which are made of airtight glass and have an intercom system so residents can talk to guests.
Staff said visitors enter and exit from outside the home to minimise the risk of infection, while residents access the pod from a different door inside the building.
Betty’s granddaughter Charlotte said: “It was fantastic being able to introduce Freddy at last. The visitor pod is great.
“The whole experience was just really positive. The home has done a brilliant job looking after my nan through the pandemic, we can’t have asked for more.”
Both sides of the pod are deep cleaned between each visit and it was installed by the care home’s facilities team.
Home manager Beverely Roberts said: “It means the world to our residents to be able to have their loved ones visit and chat to them.
“In normal times, they are able to have visitors whenever they like, so not being able to do that has been heart-breaking for everyone.
“We’re all looking forward to the day when they can hug each other, but until then, we hope that our new secure pod will make it a bit easier for our residents and their families.”