Family visiting in one of the new containers

Fraser Health and the Queen’s Park Healthcare Foundation are making it easier to visit loved ones in long term care.

A renovated shipping container is now onsite at Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster to bring families together in a safe and private way.

The shipping container is heated and furnished, with separate entrances for residents and families. A clear plexiglass partition permits private, yet distanced visits for one resident and up to four visitors at a time. The visits follow all public health guidelines.

“It’s an innovative way to bring families together,” says Karl Segnoe, whose 92-year-old grandmother lives at Queen’s Park Care Centre. “I have every confidence in the staff to keep my grandmother safe, but I fear social isolation is taking a toll on her well-being. Being able to visit as a family will be huge because my grandmother is such an important person in our lives.”

Families can book private visits when COVID-19 outbreak restrictions are not in place. All visits adhere to public health guidelines, including:

  • Visitors must wear a mask and sanitize their hands;

  • Complete a COVID-19 screening form and have their temperature checked;

  • Enter and exit via the visitor entrance of the container.

A health care worker escorts the patient or resident into the container using the resident entrance and remains inside for the visit. There is no contact outside the container before or after the visit.

Up until now, families wishing to visit their loved one together could do so via a window visit, where a health care worker brings a resident to a window at a specified time for a visit. The visitor centre is an alternative to window visits, providing a dry, warm place to have a window visit with residents and patients.Outside of containers

Window visits will continue for larger groups, as will virtual visits.

“Residents in long term care and their families have endured so much during the pandemic,” says Dr. Victoria Lee, president and CEO, Fraser Health. “I’m grateful to the Queen’s Park Healthcare Foundation for helping us move this project forward so families can connect with their loved ones in this unique way.”

It was an idea from staff at Queen’s Park Care Centre that prompted Elizabeth Kelly, the executive director of the Queen’s Park Healthcare Foundation, to get the ball rolling.

“We had the space, so I applied for a $25,000 federal grant,” says Kelly. “All of us at Queen’s Park Care Centre are looking forward to the day when COVID-19 is behind us and we can remove the partition in the visitor centre so families can celebrate together and hug each other. The pandemic has taught us that the small things in life are really the most important.”

Queen’s Park Care Centre is an acute and long term care facility in New Westminster that supports 77 rehab patients and 148 residents. The Queen’s Park Healthcare Foundation raises additional funds for The Queen’s Park Care Centre to provide physical rehabilitation excellence for patients on their journey to recovery and supportive care within a living environment for seniors unable to live at home.

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