Local nursing homes and assisted living facilities are working on keeping residents safe but entertained as visitation is currently closed and guidelines they must follow are constantly changing.
According to a news release on the governor’s website, www.governor.ohio.gov, updates that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently gave in regards to nursing homes, included the information that the Ohio Department of Health issued an order requiring long-term care facilities to notify residents and families if either a staff member or resident tests positive for COVID-19.
The notifications must be made within 24 hours of the positive test result.
According to Candis Conley, the business development coordinator for HCF Management (Court House Manor and St. Catherine’s Manor of Washington Court House), “We are hanging in there and doing our best to keep what little bit of normal we can for our residents.”
Conley explained there have been various activities to keep the residents involved, including themed days. One of the latest themes was National Twinkie Day.
“Many of the things that we would normally do, instead of having everyone go to a common area, we take it to them,” wrote Conley in an email. “Since we cannot gather in a common area like normal, we have adopted Hallway Bingo, where they sit in their doorways and we call out the numbers to the entire hall. We do a lot of room-to-room, one-on-one activities as well — even if it is just to sit and have a conversation with them or a small craft.”
Another activity that has been provided by some smaller groups is window caroling, and caroling isn’t the only use the residents are getting out of the windows. Conley explained that while in-person visits are not allowed at this time, family and friends are making “window visits.”
“They will call the residents room and peer in through the window as if they are having a normal conversation,” explained Conley. “We have been accommodating families with the ability to Facetime or Skype as well.”
There has also been an email address created with the purpose of allowing families to send pictures and letters electronically to residents.
“We receive those daily and distribute to the designated resident. They have loved receiving these,” wrote Conley. “We have made it a huge priority to be posting photos to our Facebook pages as well so families can stay up to speed and see that their loved one is still doing well.”
Care packages from family and friends are still being accepted for residents. Each care package is sanitized before being delivered to the residents’ rooms, according to Conley. Many of the care packages have had certain treats or products that residents desire. By allowing families to drop off these packages, the residents do not have to go without the desired items.
According to a press release from Signature Healthcare, the facility remains under “Limited Access,” which means no individual, regardless of reason, can visit or enter, “except under certain and very specific circumstances, such as an end-of-life situation or when critical for a resident’s emotional well-being and care.”
The press release goes on to explain that there are alternative means of communication being used so family and friends can keep in contact with residents. Some of these alternative methods includes YourDoc2U, social media, cell phone applications, virtual chaplain visits, etc.
According to the press release, “YourDoc2U is a telehealth service platform, usually used by doctors and staff, to ensure all patients have equal access to quality healthcare, regardless of location. Signature Healthcare has expanded that technology to allow families to set up a remote, virtual conference with their loved one, using the equipment that is already available at our facilities.”
Other services that help to keep the residents occupied or connected include InspireTV, Touch Points and a food service menu.
InspireTV, according to the press release, is an application that allows Signature Healthcare facilities to stream virtual museum tours, cooking shows, faith-based topics and in-house videos for residents which are created by stakeholders.
Touch Points is a resource website that offers up-to-date links on quality-of-life engagement resource links. These links are to allow residents to access fun activities such as art projects, adult coloring books, puzzles, daily devotions, etc.
The specific food service menus are offered to residents as a way to order specific foods for leisure and comfort.
Signature Healthcare encourages family, friends and the community to continue sending letters and cards to residents, although it has been requested that those who do send things to practice good hand washing hygiene when handling the items.
According to officials representing Carriage Court of Washington Court House, “residents continue to enjoy activities, such as exercise class and attend church services held at the building. Window visits and virtual visits from friends and family are common. In addition, there’s been an outpouring of delivered food and treats for residents and staff.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.