A NEW visitor pod has brought months of heartache to an end for care home residents who have finally been reunited with their families.

Home Prince Edward Duke of Kent Court, in Stisted, is one of the first care home's in the country to install the Covid-secure pod which is kitted out with an intercom system and glass screen to allow visitors to interact with residents.

Visitors enter and exit the pod from different doors to minimise the infection risks, while a deep clean is carried out after each use.

It has enabled families to visit their loved ones staying at the home for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was ordered in March.

Among the residents thrilled to be able to have visitors again was Dot Bash, who was overjoyed to see her son Peter and her grandson Johnathan.

She said: “It’s marvellous to see them again and to be able to talk.

"We’ve spoken every day and become well acquainted with video calling, but it’s not the same.

"I can’t tell you what this means to us.”

Son, Peter, added: “It’s been wonderful.

"We’ve had a good old chin wag and I just haven’t stopped smiling.

"The home has done a terrific job looking after my mother through all this, we can’t have asked for more.”

Staff at the care home have set up video and phone calls for residents throughout the lockdown to ensure they kept in contact with relatives.

The home was forced to ban all visitors at the start of the pandemic to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19.

The new visitor pod, which has been made airtight, has been a big hit since it was installed and care home manager Agnieszka McDonald admits it has helped eased the strain caused by the pandemic.

She 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.”