Geelong aged care service keeping families connected during COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Multicultural Aged Care Services (MACS) in Geelong have been busy creating an innovative ‘Live Visitor Pod’ to enable relatives to visit loved ones face-to-face, all from a purpose built shipping container on site.


The MACS Live Visitor Pod is a converted shipping container decked out with furniture, heating and cooling, and made to feel all warm and cozy with picture frames on the wall and carpeted floors.


According to MACS CEO, Joy Leggo, the idea behind this new initiative was to act swiftly and think on their feet in response to the voice of their wider community.


“It all comes down to the importance of human connections and if we can play a part in facilitating these face to face catch up’s and enabling valuable family relationships to continue for our aged care residents, then we will move mountains to make it happen,” Ms Leggo said.


“FaceTime and Zoom are amazing tools of the modern age and we’ve been hosting hundreds of calls over the past few weeks to keep our Residents connected, but there’s nothing quite like seeing your loved ones face-to-face and that’s what our Visitor Pod will achieve.”


Conceived and delivered in a little over a month, the Visitor Pod has been constructed and fitted out by local Geelong-based tradesman (Mark West), creating further benefits to the local economy. According to Ms Leggo, Mark and his team have gone above and beyond to get this completed in such a short timeframe.


Families need to phone MACS during office hours to make a booking and the pod will be open seven days a week for 20 minute appointments. No more than 2 people can visit at any one time due to the health and wellbeing of our residents.


Through the smart use of perspex glass panels and other cleaning protocols, the Visitor Pod allows families to engage, whilst respecting current social distancing guidelines.


Our pilot testing has resulted in a unanimous positive response from families who have trialed the new pod. According to the granddaughter of a MACS resident, Kristie Lee, whilst there are alternative methods of communication, nothing compares to seeing your loved ones, even if you can’t physically embrace them.


“There has never been a more critical time to be innovative, and for this to be completed in such a short period of time since the lock down, demonstrates MACS have been proactive in adjusting their business to meet the need of its clients, while protecting the most vulnerable,” Ms Lee said.