ADAM Integrated Industries’ George Rithaler demonstrates one of the glove units within Sentinel Cottage, a safe, portable meeting space designed by the Salmon Arm company to accommodate visits with seniors in care facilities under COVID-19 restrictions. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

ADAM Integrated Industries’ George Rithaler demonstrates one of the glove units within Sentinel Cottage, a safe, portable meeting space designed by the Salmon Arm company to accommodate visits with seniors in care facilities under COVID-19 restrictions. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

VIDEO: Salmon Arm business offers safe solution for visits with seniors in care facilities

Sentinel Cottage a portable meeting space created in response to COVID-19 pandemic

A Salmon Arm company wants to safely reconnect families with loved ones in care facilities where visitations are restricted due to COVID-19.

According to a Nov. 3, 2020 news release from the office of B.C.’s Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackeznie, a recent provincewide survey found visitation restrictions at long-term care and assisted living homes, though helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19, are still having negative health impacts on residents.

“When we started visit restrictions, the goal was to ensure residents in long-term care and assisted living were kept safe from COVID-19,” writes Mackenzie in her report on the survey. “Eight months later, we need to ask the question: What are we keeping them safe for if it is not to enjoy the time they have left with the ones they love?”

George Rithaler, business development manager at ADAM Integrated Industries, shared similar thoughts while reflecting on concerns that led the Salmon Arm company to development Sentinel Cottage, a portable, self-contained, mobility friendly, high-tech visitation room that can be easily set up at care facilities.

“We’ve heard story after story about the problems they’re running into,” said Rithaler. “I have to admit, for most of us here, it started off as a project we needed to put in place and now it’s a very passionate undertaking that we want to see happen as quickly as possible so many seniors can benefit from this.”

As Rithaler explained, ADAM’s president Colin McMaster was out grabbing coffee sometime toward the end of August 2020 when he heard a news report regarding the impact pandemic lockdown restrictions were having on seniors in care facilities. Inspired to come up with a solution, he and staff began working out what that solution might look like.

“Basically, at the end of the day, we had kind of worked out a go-plan,” said Rithaler. “The next day we were already in the process of building a wood mock-up so we could get a conceptual feel of what we needed to design… And from there it basically progressed on an expedited basis, and we rolled out our prototype last Wednesday (Oct. 28).”

Despite the relatively short time frame, the company developed what Rithaler described as a durable metal structure with a comfortable, cottage-like feel that employs various technologies and provides ample space so more than one person at a time can visit with loved ones.

The building has two separate entries, with the inside divided by a wall-to-wall Plexiglas panel. A touchless audio system allows for a natural-feeling conversation experience.

Included in the glass panel are two specially designed gloves that allow for safe physical contact.

“We felt that… loved ones need to be recognized in more than just sight,” said Rithaler. “They need to have some sort of touch. But the question is, how do you do that and maintain a safe bubble? So our solution was, let’s provide this perfect environment and let’s allow physical contact within a safe manner.”

Though seniors care was a key driver behind Sentinel Cottage’s development, Rithaler said it could easily be put into use at hospitals, prisons and other facilities.

Read more: B.C. seniors suffer from isolation, depression in COVID-19

Read more: B.C. care homes well equipped to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks: seniors advocate

Read more: Daughter of man at B.C. care home hit by COVID-19 says loneliness is a big issue

While the prototype has been well received so far by those who have viewed it, Rithaler said the challenge now is getting the attention of provincial governments and those in the best position to get the Sentinel Cottage to care facilities, where it can reopen doors to loved ones shut in by the ongoing pandemic.

“We’ve put a lot of our own research into what we needed to do to make it work, to make it viable for the application, and it’s really brought us deeply into this particular issue about the seniors, the issues that they’re dealing with and their families,” said Rithaler. “One of the big things we’re hearing, of course, is they need this now… But it takes time to get this out. We just can’t get an order from a client and have it produced tomorrow. This is a fairly significant undertaking in terms of everything that goes into this building. It’s a very complex building.”

Rithaler noted materials and products from 35 other companies go into the making of the Sentinel Cottage, and if it were to go into production where they were putting out one per day, ADAM would likely be doubling its staffing.

“The way we look at it, 35 companies get to keep working, it keeps the economy moving forward,” said Rithaler.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon Arm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

ADAM Integrated Industries’ Sentinel Cottage offers a safe, portable meeting space designed to accommodate visits with seniors in care facilities under COVID-19 restrictions. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

ADAM Integrated Industries’ Sentinel Cottage offers a safe, portable meeting space designed to accommodate visits with seniors in care facilities under COVID-19 restrictions. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Just Posted

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

Tom Smithwick has written a new book, Knocking On Freedom’s Door, about his experiences advocating for a drug addiction treatment program in Kelowna. (File photo)
‘Knocking On Freedom’s Door’: A retired Kelowna lawyer’s insights to mental illness, addiction

Freedom’s Doors advocate Tom Smithwick shares what he has learned from experiences of treatment program clients in new book

Royal LePage Arena was an addition to West Kelowna championed by Len Novakowski. (File photo)
West Kelowna community leader Novakowski dies

Former Westside regional district director Len Novakowski dies after lengthy health battle

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Vernon Secondary School. (Google Maps)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

VSS exposure announced late Friday, April 9

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Bart and Tracey Larson enjoying a Begbie Cream Ale. The couple have been together for 40 years. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
The art of really good beer: Revelstoke brewery celebrates 25 years

Mt. Begbie Brewery owners Bart and Tracey Larson reflect on their company’s history

Most Read