Coronavirus: How Swiss ‘visitor boxes’ are again allowing nursing home visits

Coronavirus: How Swiss ‘visitor boxes’ are again allowing nursing home visits
Besucherboxen - visitation boxes - in Swiss retirement homes. Photo: DPA
Nursing homes in Switzerland have begun to again allow visits from the outside world, having banned or severely restricted them due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

In order to do so, Swiss nursing homes have begun constructing visitation boxes (Besucherboxen) which allow visitors to engage with elderly residents without the risk of transmitting the virus. 

German news outlet SWR estimates that the boxes cost CHF1000 to construct. 

A number of outbreaks in nursing homes around the world have become deadly, with authorities often resorting to visitation bans to prevent infection. 

This however has contributed to feelings of loneliness for many nursing home residents, with management creating the boxes as a solution. 

Zurich

Zurich has been the latest canton to again encourage visitation. As of Thursday, April 30th, visitation will again be allowed in Zurich nursing homes, provided protective health measures have been adopted. 

Otherwise known as ‘visitor zones’, the visitation boxes allow communication via phone or speakers while preventing transmission through a sheet of plexiglass or glass. 

Besucherboxen – visitation boxes – in Swiss retirement homes. Photo: DPA

People over the age of 65 are at a much higher risk of becoming severely sick or dying from the virus. 

According to research conducted by The Local Switzerland earlier in April, the median age of dying from the virus in Switzerland is 83. 

What we know about the victims of the coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland

Only 35 of the more than 1700 deaths in Switzerland have been among people younger than 60. 

In Zurich, 60 percent of the total deaths from the virus have come among nursing home residents. 

 


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