A care home in Italy has developed an innovative approach to social distancing during the Covid pandemic.
Residents at The Domenico Sartor care home in Castelfranco, Veneto, have created a special anti-contagion curtain that enables people to cuddle their loved ones without the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Called the “Hug Room” or “stanza degli abbracci,” a soft, transparent plastic curtain, which resembles a thick shower curtain, separates care home residents from their family and friends.
Staff at the facility say that physical contact with loved ones has a profound impact on residents’ mental and emotional well-being.
Visitors to the care home are required to undergo strict health and safety protocols before being allowed to make physical contact with residents.
Online photographs show emotional care home residents and loved ones reuniting after months apart.
One pensioner living in the northern Italy facility spoke with tears in her eyes about being able to cuddle her daughter.
“I was finally able to hug my daughter again,” she told TGcom24.
“After weeks of video calls, it seemed like a mirage. It was a contact that I had been missing for too long,” she said.
The news comes as UK care homes have been forced to adapt as families remain separated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Glass pods have been installed at some facilities around the UK in a bid to ensure residents can continue to see friends and family face-to-face as the second coronavirus lockdown continues.
The booths vary from home to home but typically allow visitors to sit inside the home while remaining entirely separated from vulnerable loved ones by glass or Perspex.
Speaker systems ensure they can talk clearly to each other.
Nicola Richards, director of Palms Row Health Care, which runs two such homes in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, said the company had spent £20,000 installing the booths which are furnished with sofas and flowers.
She said: “As we feel Covid-19 is not going away anytime soon we made the decision to invest in a long-term solution for safe visiting.”
Care homes building sealed-glass pods for safe face to face visits