20200624_bl_hillcrestwindows

Hillcrest CEO Sharyl Ronan, left, and Tammy Weston, administrator of Hillcrest Health & Rehab in Bellevue, demonstrate a new “safety window.” These windows will help residents and families interact in a safe way.

Hillcrest Health Services is working to open its doors for visitors again. But until then, the facilities have invented a new tool that will help bring families and friends closer.

Partnering with B Douglas Construction Solutions, Hillcrest Health Services created Plexiglass safety windows for outside the buildings.

These windows will allow residents and their loved ones to be closer than they have been since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Hillcrest to shut its buildings down to visitors.

Liz Stratman, director of communications for Hillcrest Health Services, said the windows will “enhance the visitor experience.”

“We think this is the safest option because you still have to screen individuals with PPE (personal protective equipment), they’ll practice social distancing and there’s a solid Plexiglass in between,” she said.

Since March when Hillcrest Health Services closed to visitors, residents and their families have relied on window visits, where they call each other on the phone while looking through the windows in the buildings.

Though this has worked well for the past three months, Stratman said it’s been difficult because the windows are semi-tinted and they can only hear each other over the phone.

“Instead of window visits, you actually get to see your loved ones up close and hear them,” she said. “It’s very exciting — we really believe that people will benefit from seeing their loved ones in full view and it’s much better than what we’ve been doing with window visits.”

The safety windows will be set up outside of Hillcrest Health Services buildings, and will open throughout the week.

Visitors will have to set up meeting times at the various Hillcrest locations. They will be required to be screened upon arrival, asked questions, wear face masks, can’t enter the building and won’t be able to have any physical contact.

“We’ll have a team member bring out their loved one and place them behind the Plexiglass window,” Stratman said.

“A team member would sit back a ways away just to monitor the visit.

Stratman said Hillcrest is looking forward to the windows and easing visitors back into the buildings.

“We really think the safety windows will enhance the visitor experience,” she said.

“We can’t wait to eventually let people visit our buildings, but this is a really great next step as we wait for the time we can open back up.”

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