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Healing Touch

Cody, Wyoming

About Cody Regional Health Foundation:

The Cody Regional Health Foundation provides philanthropic support to the local hospital, Cody Regional Health, for programs, services, and equipment to assure the highest quality of patient-centered care and enhance the quality of health in the community.

Daughter and mother embrace at the Cody Regional Health Long Term Care Center for the first time in almost a year thanks to the new Hugging Booth installed by the Cody Regional Health Foundation.
The First Hug

How COVID affected things:

When the pandemic response was first initiated, the Cody Regional Health Long Term Care Center (LTC) shut down visitation to protect residents at a higher risk. One of the most tragic aspects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has been the inability to embrace loved ones. This became a very difficult time for everyone, but especially those in long-term care facilities who have been unable to embrace their families or loved ones for almost an entire year.

How the Foundation reacted:

After a long car ride with her three children to surprise her grandma for her 93rd birthday, Foundation Director Annalea Avery was inspired to create a Hugging Booth back home to bring that missing power of touch to the LTC residents and their families.

“We were happy to see (grandma), but we had to visit her through glass,” Annalea shared. “While it was exciting to see her smile, it was so hard not to touch her. I just wanted to hold her hand and hug her. We cried so hard when we had to leave. When I got home I started thinking of ways that I could make a difference in my own community.”

Annalea reached out to hospital leadership about creating something that would meet all necessary regulations. She and LTC Director Brian Huso worked out the logistics for safety concerns and location, and received a grant from the Foundation which was excited to support the project. Other community members quickly got on board, including Annalea’s father, Mike Bromley, with Bromley Construction and Log Homes, who donated time and materials to create a movable frame for the booth. Buckstitch Canvas donated vinyl materials and Applied Graphics helped figure out how to seam the plastic together so it would be durable and big enough to use.

What the future holds:

At this point, the Foundation is unsure what the future holds, but they know if they keep working together and coming together as a community they will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. They have seen a huge amount of support from the community, have had wonderful feedback from those who have used the hugging booth, and plan to keep the hugging booth up until it is safe to take it down.

"We hope to always find creative ways around a problem to continually follow our mission to provide person-centered care," Annalea said.


“It was so special to witness the first hug session and subsequent sessions after that. It is our hope that this helps bring back that healing touch that our residents need."

-Annalea Avery, Cody Regional Foundation Director


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