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Nursing homes reducing restrictions after long year of no visitors
Times-Tribune - 4/7/2021
Apr. 7—CORBIN — It was a long, difficult year for many residents in long-term care facilities but with many nursing home residents now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, families are now able to visit their loved ones once again.
In March 2020, some nursing homes across the state ceased visitations with family members and soon after, Gov. Andy Beshear banned all visits to nursing homes and senior living complexes as the virus continued to spread. Now, one year later, families are being reunited with their loved ones in long-term care facilities.
Corbin Health and Rehabilitation Administrator Chad Hill said the impact these restrictions have made on residents, staff and families has been difficult to overcome.
"Seeing and hearing the residents in need of something the staff can't fully provide by not having loved ones by their side as often as they have been, on top of having to also be mindful not to have large group meals, activities, or events within the facility added to the difficulty of warding off loneliness in our home," Hill said.
Despite the restrictions, though, Hill said he and the staff of Corbin Health and Rehabilitation have worked hard to keep residents in touch with their families and hopeful for the return of visitations.
"We've always tried to welcome families to keep in touch via window visits, supplying extra cell phones accessible to residents, we purchased nine iPads to be used for FaceTime or other video messenger chats, as well as visits at our front door through the window," he said.
Hill said the facility also had personal tents for residents to visit their loved ones in, as well as a visitation wall that was donated by Bluegrass Navigators Hospice and Homecare last summer to help with safe visitation. The facility also hosted family parades to allow families to drive by in their vehicles and tried to keep residents busy with activities, while also keeping families updated with pictures via Facebook and on their website.
"I think our best activity so far, which I'm not sure how we can top, is our ATV Day last summer," Hill said. "We had staff and facility members bring their ATVs and gave several residents rides around our property!"
Hill said that seeing families visiting their loved ones over the last few weeks has been really special and has definitely helped to lift some spirits.
"After a year, finally being able to welcome families back into our home to see their loved ones has been so heart-warming," Hill said. "I think it's raised the spirits of the staff just as much as it has the residents and their families!"
Now that family members may visit their loved ones inside the facility, Hill said there are some important guidelines that must be followed. Hill said that all visitations must be scheduled ahead of time and masks are required to be worn at all times.
The facility is also offering COVID-19 rapid testing to visitors before their visit, which Hill said can be done if visitors arrive 15 minutes prior to their scheduled visit. Hill also said that if the resident someone is visiting is vaccinated, they may hug their loved one.
To schedule a visit with your loved one at Corbin Health and Rehabilitation, call the facility at 606-528-8822 and ask for Misty Smallwood.
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