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Greenwich nursing home deploys innovative 'visit pods' for winter

At nursing homes like Nathaniel Witherell in Greenwich, there's a critical connection between visits from loved ones and the overall health and well-being of residents.

News 12 Staff

Dec 25, 2020, 12:56 AM

Updated 1,275 days ago

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At nursing homes like Nathaniel Witherell in Greenwich, there's a critical connection between visits from loved ones and the overall health and well-being of residents.
Nathaniel Witherell's executive director John Mastronardi says visits are extremely important even during COVID.
"We've always got to balance our resident and staff safety with that longing that family members and residents have to see one another," Mastronardi says.
Since the summer, Witherell has allowed visits in the garden.
That's something Tom Ruben has taken advantage of to see his wife Kathy.
"It has been very, very nice. I mean, she really relishes being outdoor," Ruben says.Mastronardi says he was concerned with the colder months approaching how the facility was going to move forward with visits, so staff started brainstorming.
Witherell's facilities director came up with an idea of deployable office containers.  
"I call them 'visit pods.' They're office containers. The facility director looked into it, came back to me and said I think this will be great because it has heating, ventilation, air, electric," Mastronardi says.
Mastronardi says he ran it by the Department of Public Health which signed off, and now Witherell has four visit pods which the facility just started using Wednesday.
Mastronardi says a staff member monitors each visit to make sure everyone wears a mask and social distances.
Ruben says he is grateful for the new pods. 
"It was a great relief that the prospect of a snowstorm, of cold weather or fierce winds aren't going to deter visits," Ruben says.  
When the visits ends, the pod is sanitized.
"I think for the most part that we've come up with an innovative way because no one else is really doing this at the moment," Mastronardi says.


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