A test visit space called “the Family Livingroom” was set up on April 20 at the center of a garden within a municipal nursing facility in Seongdong-gu, Seoul, for a test visit session. Park Yeong-soon, a 71-year-old patient, was able to meet her son for the first time in a year and two months as family visits had been banned since the outbreak of COVID-19.
For more than 60,000 citizens who cannot meet their beloved ones owing to the ban on family visits at nursing homes, the city government of Seoul developed a non-contact gathering space for the elderlies and their families. Unlike the typical visit room partitioned with a glass wall, the new service offers a place where families can feel at home during their long-waited reunion. About 15m² wide, the visiting room is a portable wooden housing that is installed outside the sanatorium. Families can hold hands with each other using the sanitation gloves typically found in a clinic, and a cutting-edge acoustic system is also equipped to catch the small voice of the elderlies. A large screen is also installed to share the photos and videos on their cellphones.
The Seoul metropolitan government is planning to share the design of this visiting space in the form of an open source to introduce them at the other facilities for the seniors and the disabled where family visits are restricted.