‘Hug Room’ Inaugurated at Montedomini

After months of isolation and social distancing, many places are adopting creative solutions such as “hug rooms” to allow family members to come into close proximity and reunite safely with their older loved ones. Montedomini, the nursing home near Santa Croce, inaugurated the inflatable room with Florence mayor Dario Nardella and city councilor for education and welfare Sara Funaro (pictured).

Besides the physical consequences of COVID-19, there are many mental and emotional effects too. As Italy became one of the hardest hit countries with the virus, thus also experiencing one of the strictest lockdowns last spring, another inevitable experience is the loneliness that comes from the lack of physical contact with others. Not only were face to face conversations limited, but gone were handshakes, cheek kisses, and hugs as well.

With the “hug room” at Montedomini, families are given the chance to close the gap and embrace without putting each other at risk. The room is divided with a plastic curtain with family members and the elderly entering at opposite ends, and meeting in the middle. On one side, the insulated plastic wall is fitted with heat-sealed PVC sleeves in which the visiting family member can move, grab, and touch. On the other, the elderly happily welcome the long-awaited moment.  (cathy doherty)