Bringing families together in chat room

Richard Zeman (right), the oldest son of Mim Zeman (second from right) enjoys a face-to-face visit with his mother via speaker phone in the new HCMH Long-Term Care chat room. An idea precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photos submitted.

One of the toughest things about dealing with the novel coronavirus has been the inability or limited ability to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities. It’s something the management and staff of Humboldt County Memorial Hospital (HCMH) Long-Term Care have had to deal with during the spring, summer and early fall.
That’s why HCMH put its maintenance department in charge of constructing a chat room indoors where visitors can see residents behind a glass window and can speak to each other over a speaker phone. The room is located before the main doors to the Long-Term Care unit. When utilizing the indoor chat room, guests do not enter LTC. If the visitors need help while in the chat room they can call LTC at 332-7685 or go back to the front desk.
“We know that this is not the most ideal way to visit your loved one, however due to COVID-19 we have had to make some major adjustments to the way families and friends can visit. This new indoor visiting room meets all requirements set forth by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA). It was built the way it is to limit the exposure of COVID-19 to our most venerable,” HCMH Chief Executive Officer Michelle Sleiter explained about the room.
Visitors having access to the indoor chat room are family members (immediate and extended), friends of the resident, children under the age of 18 (if accompanied by an adult), and clergy members.
Visitors wanting to use the chat room must call ahead and schedule and appointment with Heather MacLeod, Stacy Willard, Kassie Wyatt or Nancy Huddleson, activities director.
Hours for visitation are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Weekend visits will need to be scheduled prior to the weekend day of the visit. To schedule a visit contact HCMH at (515) 332-4200, or Long-Term Care directly at (515) 332-7685.
Read more about what staff, residents and visitors think in this week's Humboldt Independent. On sale now, or click on the subscribe link at top of this page for the full story.

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