Nursing homes adjust to COVID-19

Published 10:00 am Thursday, March 26, 2020

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One of the most susceptible age groups from the coronavirus has been people older than 65 years old.

Because of the disease’s effect on senior citizens, people older than 65 have been urged to stay at home and away from people.

As the coronavirus began to spread in Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide order limiting interactions with people living in nursing homes or extended-care facilities. These facilities aren’t allowed guests or visitors until the epidemic has calmed down.

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Three of these facilities in the Greater-Valley area are EAMC Lanier Nursing Home, Oak Park and Valley Park Manor.

At all of those facilities, home health or hospice workers and staff are pre-screened before they can enter the premise. If a worker doesn’t pass the screening, they are sent home.

To help keep the residents safe, they are mainly staying inside the living facility and rarely, if ever, go outside.

But quarantine can cause boredom and frustrate people, so both facilities have tried different ways to keep residents entertained and not focusing on the news.

EAMC Lanier and Oak Park have set up an “Adopt a Resident” program. In this program, staffers spend one-on-one time with residents every day doing a variety of tasks from planting flowers, enjoying a snack, listening to music and playing dominoes. They are also setting up programs that will allow residents to video call their families if they are not able to do so already. Local schools have sent letters to the residents, which are given out and read by staffers.

At Valley Park, the staff is encouraging the residents to do other activities than just watch the news all day. Some of the activities that they are doing for the residents are in-room massages, playing dominoes, switching up the T.V. channels on the main T.V. and allowing porch time, which allows residents to just get some fresh air.

At all three locations, supplies are key for maintaining the health of the residents. Those supplies are isolation gowns, masks, latex glove and hand sanitizer.

“We are not out of supplies, but we are carefully monitoring them as we are going through some items at a faster pace than we normally would,” EAMC said in a press release.

EAMC is taking donations outside of EAMC’s Main Lobby between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. EST each weekday for any supplies that would help the residents.