New enclosures at 10 senior living communities meet social distancing guidelines
Face-to-face visits and conversations among family and loved ones that once were taken for granted have been taken away from many seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IntegraCare Corporation’s senior living communities are taking steps to bring back the traditional visits between residents and family members while continuing to follow recommendations by the CDC and state and local government.
IntegraCare rolled out its Conversation Station concept at 10 communities this week, and the addition is certain to be popular throughout Mother’s Day weekend. The visitation stations meet the 6-foot separation standard for social distancing. The enclosure includes a frame and large sections of clear plexiglass. The residents are inside the station and family members are able to visit on the opposite side of the glass.
“It’s going to increase the personal one-on-one interaction between the family member and the resident,” said Butch Cassiday, Regional LifeStyle and LifeStories Director for IntegraCare. “While we still can’t allow residents to be face-to-face for a hug, this at least brings them closer together, in a more personal environment.”
IntegraCare has incorporated other safety procedures since early in the COVID-19 pandemic and those guidelines and restrictions continue to be followed.
“We have safety precautions in place,” Cassiday said. “Both the resident and family member will still have to wear a mask. After each use, both inside and outside the visitation station will be disinfected.”
Colonial Courtyard at Bedford in Pennsylvania unveiled its Conversation Station this week and had six scheduled visits in the first two days, with an additional six visits set for the weekend, according to Bobbi Howsare, Community Relations Director.
“One of our ladies, her daughter who hadn’t seen her for over a month, and the resident’s son, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter all were there,” Howsare said of an emotional visit. “The daughter had tears in her eyes.”
The Colonial Courtyard at Bedford station project brought the local community together. Bedford True Value and Your Building Centers donated materials, and Harris Greenhouse and Floral donated plants to decorate the station.
“We appreciate all of the support,” Howsare said.
COVID-19 precautions previously forced family members to visit their loved ones by conversing through a closed window in the resident’s room at many IntegraCare communities. A family sang Happy Birthday to a resident situated on a second-floor balcony at The Woods at Cedar Run in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. IntegraCare’s “Virtual Hugs” program provided another way for families to reach out online to the residents and staff.
Visiting through a closed window sometimes made it difficult for the parties involved to hear each other. The Conversation Station provided an answer to that problem.
“We absolutely love the Conversation Station here because it gets them one step closer to being with their loved ones at this trying time,” CC Bedford’s Howsare said. “Any little way we can help them get back to the normal is important.”
The Conversation Stations have been constructed in 10 of IntegraCare’s 11 communities located in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. The other community, Magnolias of Lancaster, already has a vestibule that serves the same purpose.
“Our goal is to have our Conversation Stations decorated in time for Mother’s Day,” Cassiday said. “Each visitation station will have its own unique touch, as they are being decorated by each community’s own team.”
The Conversation Stations will be utilized as long as social distancing measures remain in place.
For more information, contact Butch Cassiday, IntegraCare Regional LifeStyle and LifeStories Director, at [email protected] or 724.940.5544.