Nursing homes adapting to pandemic

The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor Several nursing homes in the area have created opportunities for loved ones to visit residents during the cronavirus outbreak. Above, Carol Covey and Donna Bleck visit Bill Cover at Valentine Personal Care Home on Davis Avenue in Elkins. The group made use of cellphones to talk and share pictures through the window at the facility.

ELKINS — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Elkins community’s nursing homes are changing policies and adding new services in an effort to keep their residents healthy and safe.

At Valentine Personal Care Inc., officials have set up an alternative plan of visitation for family members to see their loved ones.

“A lot of the residents are older and they don’t understand much about Facebook, FaceTime and all of that,” Debbie White, RN at the facility, told The Inter-Mountain this week. “What we are doing is taking them to the front room because we have big windows there.

“The family members are calling the facility and they are talking with the resident through the glass. This way they can talk and see each other at the same time,” she said.

Elkins Rehabilitation & Care Center has also activated a new approach to visitation.

“We are not letting visitors in the building and with that said, our families are doing window visits,” Tara Shaver, administrator at ERCC, said. “They pull up are able to talk through a cell phone and see the resident.

“We started doing that and we also are letting the residents make messages on whiteboards and we have been posting those on Facebook. This just lets the families know that they are OK. They also can call in and Skype or FaceTime as well.”

Shasta Eidell, administrator of Nella’s Nursing Home Inc., said the facility’s staff has been working hard to handle the changes prompted by the coronavirus situation.

“We started weeks ago, even before the guidelines came down from CDC,” she said. “We had started taking extra temperatures on the residents each shift to see if anything could possibly be brewing.

“Before any staff member can enter the facility, they have to have their temperature taken. We are keeping a log and if we notice a significant variance, like two degrees or more, they are sent home and they are not allowed to work.

“We are practicing our usual basic infection control,” she said. “This is something that you would do no matter what organism that you could come in contact with, this is something you have to be prepared for.”

Eidell said staff is making sure the families of the facility’s residents are informed and in contact.

“We have phones that they can call anytime so they can talk to their family member. As we get information, we are updating all of our families and responsible parties with the same information so that they can know what we are doing step by step,” she said.


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