It was an unparalleled hug that Caroline Ellis witnessed.
Last May, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ellis and her husband Andrew created a device from transparent plastic sheet and trash bags in Guelph, Ont. That would allow her to hug her mom on Mother’s Day.
“Once I hugged her, like we were hugging her, it was obviously mutually beneficial. I felt so passionate that I hugged her. And I didn’t realize, I think, how much I needed that hug from my mom, not only gave her a hug, but she received him too,” Ellis recalls.
“So we were crying. We were laughing.”
Pictures of the hugs were widespread and spread by the media across the country. Ellis said she started receiving requests from all over the world to make a similar item for them.
These requests, Ellis said, made her realize that there was a need for something to allow people to cuddle in situations where they are not actually allowed to communicate.
So she and her family created the Hug Glove.
The product was launched on Sunday, Mother’s Day. It’s an updated version of Ellis creation from last year. It has a clear plastic cover so people can see each other, but there is a similar fabric to hospital scrub at the bottom. It’s fully machine washable and uses Velcro fasteners to attach it to the door frame.
Hugs ‘make a real difference’
Ellis says she’d like to see Hug Glove used in hospitals, long-term care, or retirement homes where extra precautions are needed. And not just COVID-19, she says, the product can be used during an influenza outbreak, virus, or other situations where patients need isolation.
Ellis said it’s also designed to work for seated people, like a wheelchair, but it also means it can be used in pediatric hospitals.
Ellis worked with Barbarian Medical, a division of Barbarian Sports Wear near Kitchener, to create the Hug Glove.
“My goal has always been to get them into nursing homes or isolated people who may have pre-existing illnesses or have weakened immune systems, such as individuals who have had transplants or who are undergoing cancer treatments,” Ellis said.
She says the ability to hug is good, not only for the patient, but for their caregivers and family as well.
“This is just an admission that both parties need this hug,” she said. “It has a real effect. Human touch, contact, and physical feeling have an effect on physical health as well as mental health.”
More to track …
Bulletin Observer Health
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