Some nursing home residents hug loved ones after nearly a year into pandemic

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Some residents at Linn Health and Rehabilitation in East Providence had a chance to hug their loved ones for the first time since the pandemic started about a year ago on Tuesday.

Rules and a protective barrier are in place, but residents told ABC6 that it was just good to have physical contact.

A wooden frame and a plastic curtain with sleeves allowed those to embrace safely without spreading germs.

Although the residents received their COVID-19 vaccine, the potential of still being a carrier is still there.

“The hugs felt great. At first I saw this big thing that was full of plastic and they told me put your arms through it and I put my arms through,” said Ronald Croteau, a resident at the center. “It was bittersweet, because though I like [the nursing home staff member], I wished my kids, my grandchildren would’ve been here, I could’ve hugged them.”

Based on state guidelines, visitors could hug residents for several seconds at the start and finish of a visit.

“So, hand holding and brief hugs. But, what I’m hearing from some families is they’re still, there’s so much fear and anxiety that they’re not sure if they’re ready for that physical contact. So, this is just a great alternative,” said staff member Jamie Sanford.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Regional News, Rhode Island