Clear Lake Boy Scouts create 'hug booth' for nursing home visits

CLEAR LAKE, Texas (KTRK) -- COVID-19 guidelines have made it difficult for many people to express their love physically, but Boy Scouts Troop 848 came up with a creative way to allow residents at nursing homes to connect with their loved ones.

Assisted living facilities have had to place strict rules ever since a surge was seen of COVID-19 cases were seen at many facilities, including not allowing physical contact between residents and loved ones.

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The "hug booth" was created at Heartis Clear Lake, home to about 150 senior residents, where rules only allow two loved ones to visit inside the facility.

"They build it exactly the way we envisioned it," Becky Hudson, the lifestyle director at the facility, said. "They're great, safe and come with gloves."

The booths are set up outside in a courtyard and allow guests to stick their hands through large sanitized gloves and look their loved one in the eye through plexiglass.

This allows some contact, although not skin-to-skin, where families can hold hands while talking or even hug.

"Don't let COVID-19 be a deterrent for figuring out somehow, some way to engage the family member in the facility," said Kevin Warren, the CEO of the Texas Healthcare Association.

WATCH: Tips on for safely visiting a loved in a nursing home
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Press play for tips on how to connect with a loved one who may be at a nursing home and strict health rules are in place.



Federal and state guidelines are shaping who and how many loved ones can visit inside of a facility, so it's important for families to pay attention.

"Coordinate with the facility leadership, make a phone call and find out what are their visitation requirements and what they are allowing them to do," Warren said.

Other things to keep in mind before planning a visit is your own health. Warren recommends staying as healthy as possible if you're a guest approved to go inside of a facility.

If an in-person visit isn't best for your family right now, Warren recommends checking with the facility for options on how to virtually connect with a loved one.

As for gifts and cards, it's important to check with the facility about any recommendations to ensure your loved one can receive it on time.

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