A window into family’s personal tale

Tessa Randello

Bupa Traralgon had its first ‘window visits’ on Wednesday, allowing residents and their loved ones to visit almost face-to-face.

The visits allow Bupa residents and their loved ones to sit on either side of a window with a table and chair set up and speak over the phone.

The home is still locked down indefinitely with no visits allowed for residents.

Lynette Lay took the opportunity to see her 90-year-old mother Elaine face-to-face for the first time in about two months.

“It is really good to see her, I would really like to give her a hug, which I can’t of course but if I could come down daily to talk to her it will be great,” she said.

“The last time I got this close to my mum was in July, it has been awful because I can ring her but it is just not the same.

“I worry because I used to take mum for days out, even for a few hours. I think it’s very isolating for them inside, they can get depressed which is only natural because they are locked in just a room, they can’t mingle with other residents.”

Ms Lay said her mother has been tested for COVID-19 “probably eight to 10 times” and has tested negative each time.

“We are more relieved now, mum’s tests have always come back clear so we were not as worried as others, but I was worried because coronavirus can get out of hand so quickly but our minds have been put at rest, we are relieved now.”

“(When the outbreak started) we were more worried but Bupa have been really good, they contact us after every test and (phone calls) are ongoing, we are still being contacted every day.”

Ms Lay said her mother also had an “isolation birthday” when she turned 90.

“The situation sounds a bit more positive now and the tests are coming back clear, so hopefully it will improve and we can come in… with mum now at 90-years-old I would like to spend as much quality time together while we can.”

Bupa Aged Care regional manager Gavin Young said residents were excited to hear the news of ‘window visits’.

“Our residents have had to be in their rooms during this time, to see their families is irreplaceable so it will just mean the world to them and there is already some excitement in the home,” he said.

“We are asking the loved ones to bring their mobile phone and we have a phone setup in the home so that they can see one another while they chat.

Mr Young said the visits are scheduled to ensure infection control at Bupa Traralgon.

“In between each of the visits we do a deep clean of the room to ensure that the residents make sure that we are maintaining infection control,” he said.

“Visiting family members will have to battle the elements a little bit and sit outside but I’m sure they won’t mind so that they can see their mum or dad or loved one.”