Closed Doors

The isolation of nursing homes during the lockdown

The National Institute of Health (ISS) made public the third report on the infection from Covid-19 in residential and health facilities in Italy: a total of 6,773 deaths, 40% of which attributable to Covid-19. In March 2020, with the start of the Italian lockdown, the elderly living in nursing homes, being one of the most vulnerable categories, were placed in complete isolation inside the assisted living facilities that housed them to implement the safety rules to prevent the spread of the contagion.
Unfortunately, only in June 2020 the first visits of their family members were able to resume, albeit separated by plexiglass dividers. The elderly of the nursing homes have never gone out, except for short walks in the external and limited spaces of the housing facilities, consequently losing all contact with the outside world. This isolation has led many of them to relational problems, disorientation, psychic fragility, and some unfortunately died without the presence of their loved ones. The nursing home staff played a fundamental role in this period, because in addition to the care they provided they also supplied the emotional support needed to comfort and replace the presence of family members.
The project involved structures that did not have positive cases of Covid-19, because the focus did not want to be the devastation of the disease, but the existential loneliness that the pandemic has caused especially for some people, such as the elderly living in nursing homes.

Cinzia Lupi (54) and Atos Battaglini (62)in front of the Costa d'Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. 5 May, 2020.
Cinzia came to the gate of the structure to see her father from a distance and she is accompanied by her husband; it is the first time they see each other since the lockdown.
She brought him some objects which he will have to give to the staff and which they will keep isolated without touching for 48 hours.

Mauro Giuggioli (74), Maurizio Spinelli (64), Dina Tempini (81), Anna Ricomi (71) guests at Falusi nursing home. Follonica - Grosseto - Italy. August 20, 2020.
Guests cannot yet leave the property which is located on the beach, they are only allowed access to the adjoining private courtyards where they started going to get back in touch with the outside spaces after months of utter isolation.

Elizabeth Leopold (74) guest at Costa d'Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. June 12, 2020.
Elizabeth is one of the guests who particularly suffered from the period of restriction imposed on the elderly in the Nursing Home facilities and had many psychological crises.

Rita Torresi (99) guest at Ferrucci nursing home. Grosseto - Italy. May 25, 2020.
Rita shows a photo of her husband that she keeps in a drawer along with other objects that she holds dear and says: "He is the person I still miss the most today". The operators during this period try to stimulate greater perceptual contact with the objects that bind the elderly to their past and present history.

Caravaggio nursing home. Scarlino - Grosseto - Italy. May 12, 2020.
An elderly woman in bed with no more ability to move. During the period of the lockdown, many elderly people faced difficult times and could not receive the comfort of their families.

Caravaggio nursing home. Scarlino - Grosseto - Italy. May 12, 2020.
An elderly woman in bed with no more ability to move. During the period of the lockdown, many elderly people faced difficult times and could not receive the comfort of their families

Costa d’Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. September 2, 2020.
The guests of the structure are having group games with the activity directors. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, these are the first activities that are carried out in an enlarged group, being allowed to finally make use of the outdoor space.

Caravaggio nursing home. Scarlino - Grosseto - Italy. September 3, 2020.
Time for lunch in the facility. In the period of full lockdown, guests ate in two shifts to ensure social distancing, after four months they began to eat together, albeit divided into two rooms on different floors.

Caravaggio nursing home. Scarlino - Grosseto - Italy. 3 settembre, 2020.
Time for lunch in the facility. In the period of full lockdown, guests ate in two shifts to ensure social distancing, after four months they began to eat together, albeit divided into two rooms on different floors.

Costa d'Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. May 5, 2020.
A guest who watches television in his room after lunch. Entertainment activities have been greatly reduced to avoid crowds and guests spend more time alone in their room.

Giorgetta Giorgi (89) guest at Costa d'Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. May 6, 2020.
Giorgetta is enjoying some sun near the gate of the facility.

Marisa Lorenzini (56) guest at Ferrucci nursing home. Grosseto - Italy. May 25, 2020.
Marisa is in the conviviality room of the structure while waiting for her turn to participate in the external activities that are organized in small groups to ensure social distancing.

Maurizio Spinelli (64), Dina Tempini (81) guests at Falusi nursing home. Follonica - Grosseto - Italy. September 4, 2020.
The elderly cannot go out except for the areas adjacent to the structure and closed to the outside, to get used to the open air, after months of imprisonment, they do physiotherapy exercises outside.

Clemente Claps (76) guest at Falusi nursing home. Massa Marittima - Grosseto - Italy. August 27, 2020.
Clemente in the garden of the structure where guests can go and resume their first movements in the open spaces.

Lidia Santi (90) and Clara Brachini (55) guests at Caravaggio nursing home. Scarlino - Grosseto - Italy. July 1, 2020.
A canopy was built with a plastic sheet, so that guests can meet their relatives without touching them. Clara sees her mom again for the second time after three months.

Marisa Terramoccia (86) guest at Costa d’Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. September 2, 2020.
Marisa is waiting for her son Danilo to visit. Visits have been reopened for a month, but only one family member can go at a time, this means that a guest can still meet his single family members very occasionally and without any physical contact.

Costa d’Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. June 12, 2020.
Small group of guests watching television after lunch. The activities of the activity directors have been reduced, because they can only work with up to five people at the time, so the elderly spend a lot of their time watching television.

Balzani Antonio (1938 - 2020) guest at Caravaggio nursing home. Scarlino - Grosseto - Italy. May 12, 2020.
Antonio died and no family member was present.
One of the worst conditions that many elderly of the Nursing Home experienced was that of not being able to have loved ones near them in the last days of their lives.

Elisabetta Caporali (85) and Paola Galatolo (activity director) at Costa d’Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. September 7, 2020.
Elisabetta is looking for movements that allow her to unwind from the game proposed by the activity director Paola. It is an exercise that develops motor coordination skills and allows an approach to physical interaction that has been strongly denied to the elderly.

Rosita Cirilli (71) guest at Costa d’Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. May 6, 2020.
Physiotherapy exercises during the lock-down period are also carried out to counteract the increased sedentary lifestyle caused by the forced isolation.

Niva Pasquini (65) and Lupi Lionello (94) guests at Costa d'Argento nursing home. Orbetello - Grosseto - Italy. May 6, 2020.
Physiotherapy exercises in the gym in small groups of two or three people keeping the necessary distance.