Murrysville long-term care facility sets up ‘hugging stations’

Murrysville long term care facility sets up ‘hugging stations’

MURRYSVILLE, Pa. — Families with loved ones at Redstone Highlands in Murrysville haven’t been able to see or touch them since March. A simple idea is now having a big impact at the long-term care facility.

“I don’t think she understood the concept of it until we could reach in and grab her hand,” said Mary Tyke.

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Tyke and her sister, Jamie Sciullo, got to hug their mother for the first time in 10 months Thursday thanks to new hugging stations.

“I was getting teary-eyed. She was getting teary-eyed. Just that touch,” Sciullo said.

“The sleeves are actually from a flower shop. We get sleeves that would have wrapped your poinsettias, take the bottoms, tape them into the plastic, get vinyl for the window,” said Del Kubeldis, with Amerisafe.

The company is behind the idea, changing each barrier and sanitizing the area between visits.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Thursday, Westmoreland County had reported more than 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 465 COVID-19-related deaths. 183 deaths were connected to long-term care facilities.

The facility’s vice president, Lisa Dormire, said she hopes the residents will be able to the COVID-19 vaccine soon. In the meantime, the hugging stations are helping lift spirits.

“We think that this has given them a physical boost, an emotional boost, every possible way to elevate their spirit. It’s been great,” Dormire said.

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