North Okanagan company creates ‘safe bubble’ visitation room for care homes

Click to play video 'North Okanagan company creates safe visitation room for care homes' North Okanagan company creates safe visitation room for care homes
North Okanagan company creates safe visitation room for care homes – Oct 30, 2020

A North Okanagan manufacturing company says it has created a solution to one of the biggest issues surrounding lockdown restrictions during the pandemic.

“It’s called the Sentinel Cottage, and it’s a 30-foot by 10-foot all-metal constructed portable building that we can drop off very easily to extended care home facilities,” said George Rithaler, ADAM Integrated Industries’ business development manager.

Visitation restrictions have severely limited the visitations at care homes, especially at long-term care facilities.

The portable building works like a visiting room except it is unattached to the care facility.

“This building has two identical rooms, separated by a wall to wall, ceiling to floor glass wall,” said Rithaler.

“That provides two separate safe bubbles where each room has its own entrance.”

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The building is completely hands-free, and includes a built-in microphone system so families can communicate easily.

Rithaler said his company kept hearing about the issues surrounding extremely restricted visitation rules at long-term care homes and saw no one was offering a solution.

“Well, (we said) what if we build a building that has two separate safe bubbles? We’re in the business of building buildings like this,” said Rithaler.

“It was a natural fit for us.”

One innovative feature is the glass has built-in sleeves to allow families to have contact with their loved ones.

Read more: Families demanding province boost funding to thwart cutbacks at Princeton, B.C., care home

One Okanagan man whose mother is in a long-term care home says this idea would solve many of the issues surrounding care home visits during the pandemic.

“People can be in a safe bubble on either side of the building, people can come and go and there’s no interference,” said Petznick.

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“People can touch and hold hands through the glove inside the unit. They can see full body language and no masks are required.”

Rithaler says he’s had preliminary talks with B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and he said the conversation was hopeful. 

He said waiting to hear back from Dix to see if a pilot project will be created.

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