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What the pandemic-friendly future of nursing home visits could look like


Families yearning to visit their elderly, high-risk loved ones who are trapped inside adult care facilities might have a sleek, new solution thanks to a Brooklyn-based interior designer.

Avigail Eisenstadt, the CEO and principal designer of AE Design Group, has developed a pandemic-friendly visitation room complete with a flexible hug wall, UV lighting and lots of plexiglass to make visiting the elderly safe as New York creeps closer to a “new normal.”

“During this COVID epidemic it’s just been terrible how the residents are unfortunately getting hit hard and they’re quarantined in their rooms and within the facilities and the only way they can see their families is through a drive by window and it’s just very sad and disheartening,” Eisenstadt, 37, told The Post.

“These residents, most of them are living out the twilight of their lives in these facilities and they deserve to have a beautiful, comfortable and safe environment.”

Renderings of the design show three separate pods with plants, couches and a coffee table that are accessible from a separate entrance and are airtight with its own ventilation system.

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Eisenstadt’s design includes copper fittings, which kill germs within a few hours, and tables made of a stone-like antimicrobial material developed in Spain called KRION that also kills germs.

AE Design, which specializes in outfitting healthcare spaces, developed the prototype for a Brooklyn nursing home facility after they asked her how they could bring visitation back safely.

“In between the rooms we can smoke up the glass so it’s private, we have UV lighting to purify the air and kill the germs, it’s on when nobody’s in there, as well as a sanitizing

mist that will clean the room in between each use,” Eisenstadt explained.

“We put in a flexible hug wall, we still have to verify the safety of that and the feasibility, that’s something we’re working on to see if we can make it happen for them because it makes a big difference,” the mom of five went on.

“Seeing someone through a glass is great but it’s still kind of cold so if we can get that to work that would be fantastic.”

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Eisenstadt said the designs are customizable based on budget but could include voice-activated technology that will allow those on either side of the barrier to converse as if they’re seated next to each other. She also has plans for an iPad-like screen that’d allow kids to make drawings to share with their loved ones.

“They’re anticipating there may be another outbreak in the fall, God forbid, we’re trying to get this in as soon as possible so people can resume some sort of normalcy when it comes to visitation but at the same time, we think this is a great thing to have in the facilities beyond COVID. There’s flu season, there’s residents with very frail health who shouldn’t be exposed to elements, people are carrying germs so we think this is something that could be beneficial in facilities long term,” Eisenstadt said.

“We’re just trying to help them reunite safely, it’s just so important. There’s nothing more important in life than family.”

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