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.
The inaugural opening at Colonial Courtyard at Bedford couldn’t have been done without a true community effort! Materials were donated by Bedford True Value and Your Building Centers, and the Conversation Station was spruced up with donations of plantings from Harris Greenhouse and Floral as well. We greatly appreciate all their support.
Previously, residents wishing to visit with loved ones during Covid-19 precautions were doing so through the window. However, the windows still needed to be closed for security and safety reasons. This made it harder for loved ones to hear each other. Our new Conversation Stations ease that challenge with a barrier that still prevents the possible transfer of the virus, but allows more sound to travel than before.
Regional LifeStyle and LifeStories Director for IntegraCare, Butch Cassiday says: “It’s going to increase the personal one-on-one interaction between the family member and the resident. 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.”
Along with our Conversation Station, other safety precautions are still in place.
“We have safety precautions in place. 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.” – says Cassiday.
Our Team Members have also been asked to sign a pledge to take specific steps to eliminate their risk of exposure to coronavirus.
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.”
For Colonial Courtyard at Bedford’s Conversation Station, it was a labor of love for Heidi Brown, Lifestyles Coordinator, Brandy Thorton, Dining Experience Director, as well as Bobbi Howsare, Community Relations Director, who worked together to make their Station feel homier for family chats by the fireside.
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.
Want to set up a visit with a resident? Contact your local community directly for more details.