The coronavirus pandemic restrictions have forced many changes on Heywood Rural Health, but the latest should have many positive effects after restrictions are lifted.
HRH has converted the former gym (and before that a ward) in the administration block into a family room so that aged care residents can meet larger groups of family and friends.
The room began usage last week.
HRH chief executive Leigh Parker said up to nine family members could meet a resident in the room, under the one person per four square metre rule, for up to two hours.
That compared to two in the aged care facility.
By using a room in a separate building it also avoided the need for visitors to go through the formalities in the aged care facility, though they will still undergo health checks.
“In the lead up to Christmas it’s been a very difficult and trying time for both residents and their families,” Mr Parker said.
“They’ve had periods of lockdown during the year and different rules at different times and we’re trying to facilitate something in the spirit of Christmas.”
Should the demand be strong in the lead-up to Christmas HRH could look at further temporary arrangements such as a marquee, Mr Parker said.
And when the restrictions do end, the room would be converted to a meeting room for use by the organisation.
What about the gym?
“That’s been in hiatus while the pandemic is here, but it is relocating to the community health hub when that project is completed.” Mr Parker said.
Anyone wanting to use the new family room should call HRH to book it.