Family members visit patients in Taunton State Hospital 06/16/2012

Each weekend, Norwood’s Michael Donovan takes a trip to Taunton State Hospital to visit his brother.

There is a certain routine that comes with the visits: Checking in with a receptionist, receiving a visitor’s sticker and being escorted to a visiting room in one of the units before being greeted by his brother, who is retrieved by a staffer at the hospital from a shared area of the ward that visitors are restricted from. Before walking into the visiting area, a staffer behind a glass partition hits a buzzer to open a door.

Usually, he takes his 56-year-old brother out to eat somewhere in the city, and sometimes he takes him on a visit to the Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary in Norton or on a stroll around the sprawling grounds of Taunton State.

“I would say that in a nutshell, visiting is one of the most rewarding things I can do,” Donovan said. “He greets us warmly, and he smiles. He thanks us every week for coming to see him. My siblings and my parents keep him involved, remembering where he came from. Last weekend we laughed for a good 10 minutes about his days as a sprinter in high school. He ran like the wind.”

Donovan said the grounds of Taunton State are very peaceful and quiet, with the exception of the occasional basketball game heard in the distance or a flock of geese flying overhead. Walks around the grounds often include trips to a courtyard, stops at the Treasure Chest — a store on campus that sells clothing and snacks — or to a greenhouse on the property that gets patients involved with cultivating plants.

“It’s really a nice place, and it’s quiet for the most part, away from the noise of the city,” Donovan said.