'Plastic bags seems wrong': Scheme passes on possessions with respect

Emily Carasquillo, manager at the Laurel Lodge care home in Ipswich Road

Emily Carasquillo, manager at the Laurel Lodge care home in Ipswich Road - Credit: Black Swan Care Company

A new scheme has been launched at a city care home to ensure loved one's belongings are treated with the utmost respect after their passing.

Because of Covid restrictions people have been unable to pack up possessions of loved ones themselves with care home staff picking up the duty. 

However, handing items of great sentimental value over in bags for pick up from the doorstep seemed wrong, said Emily Carasquillo, manager at the Laurel Lodge care home in Ipswich Road.

So she came up with the idea of resident belonging bags after an upsetting episode with a former World War Two veteran.

She said: "It broke my heart to hand a veteran's belongings back to their loved ones in plastic bags.

"I wanted to make sure we were showing how much our residents mean to us even after they've passed, and I think it is extremely important." 

Black Swan Care Group managing director, Tom Lyons, and head of marketing, Sam Bailey, began working on designs for potential bags or boxes which could fit the purpose.

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The bags are also personalised for the homes thanks to hearing Mrs Carasquillo's idea. 

The design for the bags has been finalised and is expected to be rolled out across all Black Swan Care Group homes across East Anglia in the near future.

Reacting to the scheme being extended across the entire region, Mrs Carasquillo said: "It is a great feeling. It may be a small thing to some but I’m sure it will mean a lot to the residents' loved ones." 

Each bag features the Black Swan logo and a message reading: 'Always a part of the Black Swan family...'. 

A spokesman for Black Swan Care Group said: "From Emily's initial idea the campaign is being rolled out to all of our 20 residential facilities throughout the east of England to ensure privacy, and dignity for our residents and their loved ones when they collect." 

Laurel Lodge is a converted Victorian house which has facilities to care for up to 32 residents.