Hug tent at Salem nursing home brings families together


Inside a tent at the facility, hugs can happen safely

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been almost a full year since nursing home residents could be close to their families. Blossom Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Salem is making this possible with a simple gesture – a hug.

Inside a tent at the facility, hugs can happen safely. For residents, it means so much.

“Everyone likes a hug,” said registered nurse Lori Rusyn. ” We don’t shake hands, we bump elbows, but it makes you cry when you see that in family members and residents.”

Here is how it works. One person stands inside the tent and puts their arms into plastic sleeves. The receiver of the hug does the same thing on the opposite side. It’s as close as you can get to an actual hug.

“During the COVID-19, we were not allowed to hug. This provides us a way we can do that,” Rusyn said.

The hug tent was donated by Linda Sebo of Salem. She contacted the nursing home and asked what they thought. They fell in love with the idea and it arrived Friday.

“None of our residents have probably hugged their loved ones for a year, so I thought it would be very beneficial,” said Debbie Leggett, clinical liaison.

Residents in the facility have already tried the hugging tent out with their families and are loving it.

If you participate in this, you can really feel somebody’s arms around you. It’s a unique thing,” Leggett said.

Which could be what any of the residents really need.

“They’re lonely, and they cry sometimes. They want to see their families. Sometimes, they think that families have abandoned them. They don’t understand COVID,” Rusyn said.

The tent is available to anyone who has a loved one at the center.

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