Almost a month after a resident tested positive for COVID-19, a Beaver County long-term care facility has made some creative preparations to reconnect residents with their loved ones.
ROCHESTER — It’s been a long three weeks for socially separated sweethearts at Rochester Manor and Villa.
Family visitation was curtailed last month due to concerns about COVID-19. But after a resident contracted the virus in early April, there was even more caution. But now, almost four weeks later, nursing home officials are ready to let some sunshine in — through the glass on the facility’s patio.
“Our families have been amazing,” said Kristin Goldstrom Oeder, executive director of the facility. “People are really excited to see their loved ones. While they understand why we had to restrict visits, they totally miss their loved ones.”
After its lone positive patient, officials began instituting all of the department of health and CDC’s guidelines, separating the patient to a separate area. Officials opened a new unit that used to be a personal care wing that was set up just in case a resident tested positive for the virus and isolated them. The facility’s medical director, as well as Goldstrom Oeder, were among the staff to live on the unit to provide 24 hour care for the resident.
That resident is still isolated, though Goldstrom Oeder said they are doing great. All residents were put in lockdown, not allowed to receive visitors, even on the patio. But last Wednesday marked 14 days since the resident tested positive, and now some slow changes are allowed to begin.
Residents on the fourth floor of the facility will be able to visit with family members beginning the end of this week. Residents on the third floor — where the patient who tested positive lives — still have to wait a bit. Relatives will have to make appointments to visit, and those visitors will be restricted to the patio.
“They won’t be allowed inside the building — those restrictions won’t be lifted,” Goldstrom Oeder said. “We’ve been doing Skype visits, but it’s different when you can set eyes on your loved one in person, even if there’s glass between you.”
Same with lips, for those who take advantage of the “Kissing Booth” that workers have set up. For those sweethearts who haven’t had any contact in recent weeks, Goldstrom Oeder said they thought it would be cute to set up a kissing booth — with a pane of glass between all parties, of course.
“We have residents who are married and haven’t been able to see their spouses,” she said. “We have a kissing booth on the window, so when they visit, they have something to look at and talk about.”
Goldstrom Oeder said that workers have painted several of the windows on the patio of the facility to allow residents and families to play games like “tic tac toe” and, of course, the Kissing Booth. They’re also hoping to allow residents to play telephone with tin cans and a rope with their family.
They also painted a butterfly mural for families to pose in and take pictures.
“We hope they get a kick out of it,” Goldstrom Oeder said.
She’s already getting a positive response from families, both on Facebook and who are clamoring to sign up.
“It has to be kinda tough at home,” Goldstrom Oeder said. “You’re wondering how your husband or parents or grandparents are doing inside this place you can’t visit. We understand the need to visit — we’re trying to do it in the safest way possible.”