Construction firm pitches 'visiting pods' so people can see loved ones in long-term care

A construction company is turning shipping containers into visiting rooms for people who have loved ones living in long-term care homes.

Company uses shipping containers to help bring families together

PCL Construction, which has an office in Sudbury, is turning shipping containers into visiting rooms. They've already sold 92 units to the Manitoba government. (PCL Construction)

A construction company is turning shipping containers into visiting rooms for people who have loved ones in long-term care homes.

International construction firm PCL, which has an office in Sudbury, has already sold 92 units to the Manitoba government.

Manager Paul Franklin says the units, which are manufactured in Winnipeg, are outfitted with an HVAC system that will keep the air clean and protect elderly residents.
"The air would come from behind the resident and toward the visitor, so any droplets that would come out of the visitor's mouth, or whatever, would never be able to reach the resident. So the chances of them getting sick from the visitor are very, very slim," he said.

"It's completely self-contained, so it fits hospital standards for isolation units. Most long-term care facilities don't have them within themselves."

The units sold to the Manitoba government can accommodate one resident and up to five visitors. Visitors still need to keep physical distance from their loved ones, and the units must be cleaned between each use. 

Outdoor visitation shelters built from shipping containers

CBC News Manitoba

6 months ago
Manitobans living in personal care homes will be able to visit with their loved ones into the winter months with the help of all-season, outdoor shelters commissioned by the provincial government. 1:43

But the "visiting pods," as he calls them, can be used in different ways by long-term care facilities.

"You can convert it into a resident type suite, then [an infected person] could stay in there and they wouldn't pass it on to the rest of the residents," he said.

PCL Construction is converting shipping containers into safe spaces where people can visit during the pandemic. (PCL Construction)

The units cost roughly $200,000.

"We're not profiting a lot on them, and it's to provide a solution," Franklin added.

"We're looking for ways that we can help to try and get through the COVID situation. I know that long-term care facilities have been hit hard by this, and I know the feeling of isolation that comes with that. And this allows people to remain connected to people in long term care facilities."

A peek inside one of the visiting pods build by PCL Construction, an international building company. They are making them from shipping containers. (PCL Construction)
Some provinces are buying up shipping containers to use as safe places for people to visit their loved ones in long term care homes. We heard more from Paul Franklin of PCL Construction in Sudbury, a company that converts the shipping containers. 6:31


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