FREEBURG, Ill. ( -- Because of the pandemic, it has been months since some people have seen their loved ones in nursing homes, and many residents may long for something as simple as a hug from a family member.

One nursing home in Freeburg, Illinois is getting creative to make sure residents finally feel their loved one's embrace.

Freeburg Care Center has been on lockdown because of the pandemic since March, and resident Leonna Parrish hadn’t seen her family since then.

Friday, that changed when the facility instituted a “hug booth.”

“We wanted to be able to do something for our residents to be able to be give them all that touch feeling they've been longing for,” said Dana Miller, marketing and admissions director for Freeburg Care Center.

Residents wore isolation gowns, and family members wore gloves past their elbows.

Everyone wore masks.

“We also sanitize the plastic cover between the family members and the residents between each visit,” Miller said.

So when Leonna got to hug her granddaughter-in-law after so many months alone, the emotions were flowing.

“I thought I'd probably cry during it but it's wonderful to be able to have her have that and myself have that physical touch with her,” said Jodie Parrish.

“There was not a dry eye in the house,” Miller added.

Freeburg will host another hug booth Saturday in order to give residents another opportunity to touch their families before it becomes too cold outside.

Freeburg hasn’t had any COVID-19 cases during this pandemic, something they attribute to the safety measures they've taken, which gave them the confidence that they could do the hug booth safely.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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