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Guildford care home staff camp outside to keep residents safe from COVID-19

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Guildford care home staff camp outside to keep residents safe from COVID-19

Published by Grace Mcgachy at 6:07am 20th May 2020. (Updated at 6:33am 20th May 2020)

Dedicated staff are sleeping in tents in the garden of a Guildford care home to try and protect their residents from COVID-19. 

13 workers at Pilgrim Wood Residential Home in Sandy Lane have spent the last three weeks camping out - and not seeing their family and friends. 

The team is planning on doing it for four weeks in total.

Pilgrim Wood Residential Home camping out because of covid-19

Among those sleeping outside is the care home's manager Sharon Mitchell who told Eagle Radio they currently do not have any coronavirus cases: 

"Touch wood we're very very lucky. 

"We've put those steps in place, we do the additional cleaning. 

"Hopefully we can get through this, it is really tough. 

"It's really important I don't want to be the one saying to relatives that we've got COVID in here and then saying to them later, unfortunately, your relative has got coronavirus." 

Plans to keep their residents safe at Pilgrim Wood began before lockdown was announced for the UK. 

The care home stopped the use of agency staff and made sure their staff were not coming in to work on public transport. 

In March they stopped accepting new residents. 

On 3 May staff began camping outside the home. 

Pilgrim Wood Residential Home camping out because of covid-19

Sharon said making the decision to lockdown the staff and residents together was difficult but the right thing to do in the situation:

"Our priority is to ensure the residents are safe at all times. 

"It was a tough choice but I said to the staff if we can't get enough staff together then they wouldn't do it. 

"Staff do miss their families but we're Zooming and some of the families are dropping off gifts for them. 

"The residents are enjoying having us here. 

"In the evenings when we have our downtime and our social meal the residents are coming out to join us. 

"They're playing badminton, joining in the barbecue things like that, we're like one big happy family." 

Residents are also unable to have visits from loved ones and Sharon says the families have been very grateful for the staff's dedication. 

Pilgrim Wood has also received a lot of support from the local community with various donations made. 

Next week Sharon and the owner of the care home Keshel Lakhani will consider the next steps - but Sharon said any change will be gradual:

"We're taking great care in that planning process just to ensure what we've been doing for the last four weeks isn't going to be upturned straightaway."