Nursing Home Care - Resource

As the holidays season is upon us we wanted to share a creative way to help nursing home residents safely stay connected with loved ones this year. A group in Colorado has found a way to maintain vital social connection with a project to bring safe hugs to socially/physically isolated older adults living in settings where visits from family and friends have been restricted. The “hug tunnel” consists of a clean, clear, soft plastic curtain with arms that allows older adults around the country a viable way to safely embrace family and friends. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided input to this project and saw no concerns about its use when proper cleaning is performed.

View how the hug tunnel works as featured on ABC World News Tonight and Channel 9 News in Colorado.

Volunteers have built four mobile hug tents and hosted six ‘hug events’ as of December 15, 2020, and the company, Sound Affects, has offered to provide live music for the events.

This group has also created The Hug Tunnel Guide with instructions for building your own hug tunnel, that includes a list of materials, diagrams, cleaning and disinfection guidelines, and more. The videos below provide further assistance in building a hug tunnel:

Three-part instructional video:

If the idea of constructing a hug tunnel feels daunting, we encourage you to seek out volunteers. The Colorado group has received a lot of interest from individuals and organizations eager to help. You may have resident families that would be interested in taking on such a task, or volunteers that haven’t been able to operate in their usual capacity due to the pandemic. Here is some language you can customize to send to families and volunteers asking for their support:

“Dear Families, Friends and Team Members,

I am reaching out to seek your help with a project to bring safe hugs to the residents. Some of you may have seen news of communities building hug tunnels. The hug tunnel is a curtain of clean, clear, soft plastic with arms to allow residents to safely embrace family and friends. Currently, we are seeking help to build one for our community. If you are interested in volunteering for this effort, please reach out to ____________.”

Here are some quotes from families in other communities that have implemented a hug tunnel:
“Amazing! Creative and something so special considering all these long months of not being together.”
“So precious and special”
“You all are a blessing for having this. I am so grateful for the opportunity to hug my beautiful grandma. Love you all.”
“Great, emotional, needed.”

Members of the Colorado LTC Safe Social Engagement Team:

Peggy Budai
Nurse Practitioner
Poudre Valley Hospital and Medical Center of the Rockies
Older Adult and Palliative Care Programs

Risa Hayes
Program Specialist, QIN-QIO
Telligen

Angel Hoffman
Regional Director of Northern Colorado
Alzheimer’s Association

Eliza Piesman
Ombudsman
Larimer County Office on Aging

Mindy Rickard
Project Coordinator
Larimer Advance Care Planning at The Health District of Northern Larimer County

Amanda Meier
Volunteer Department Supervisor
The Conversation Project in Boulder County at TRU Community Care

Ty E. Graef, MSW, LCSW
Social Service Director
Spring Creek Health Care Center

Jana Yoder
Clinical Liaison
Center at Rock Creek

Alexis LaHaie
Director of Business Development
Charter Health Care Group

Darlene Bassetti
Resource Navigator
Aspire3D

Hanna Doreen Brown
Program Director
Sound Affects https://soundaffectsmusic.org/home#the-mission

For more information, email Risa Hayes at rhayes@telligen.com.