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With no in-person visits from loved ones, nursing home staff working hard to keep spirits high

Posted at 2:15 PM, Sep 08, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in different ways, including mentally and emotionally. This can be especially true for nursing home residents, who rely on visitors coming to see them.

At Sayre Christian Village, a family visit can make a resident's entire day, but those visits have changed completely over the last six months. One way is with no-contact window visits.

“While they're not in person and they lose that sense of touch, they can be right there on the glass and they can interact with each other via over the phone right there in those window visits,” CEO Karen Venis said. “I can't even, I'm going to count... I don't even know how many virtual visits we're doing.”

It's still not the same as being face-to-face though. Currently, the assisted living and skilled nursing facilities aren’t allowing visitors because of recent positive cases of COVID-19. While the home's independent living facilities are allowing in-person visits, many families are hesitant to stop by. Venis says that's been very hard on the nursing home's residents.

“Any of us would say that there are days that are tougher than others. I think six months into this, fatigue is certainly a real thing,” she said.

Since the nursing home's workers are so close to the residents, Venis says they're working hard to help them when they're down.

“They try to fill that gap to meet the psychosocial needs of our residents so that they don't feel like that social isolation is an issue,” she said. “It's really easy to see, 'Oh, so and so, they look like they're having a rough day today. Let's give them some extra TLC.' We know what their interests are. We know what they like to do.”

Looking ahead, Venis says they're prepared to continue bridging that social interaction gap as long as they need to, to help keep spirits up for their residents.