One month ago, we were all faced with the reality that some major changes were coming. Our community, just like so many across the world, was turned upside down with the threat of COVID 19, a.k.a. the coronavirus pandemic. Schools closed and businesses closed. But even before any of that happened, we knew we had to take action inside our nursing home facility.
With the biggest danger of coronavirus being for the elderly, Mount Hope Nursing Home took the measures needed right away to protect our residents. We restricted visitation and implemented procedures to keep everyone inside our doors as safe as possible right away.
With those new COVID safety measures, life inside Mount Hope drastically changed. Our residents weren’t able to have visitors. Group meals and community gathering spaces stopped being a place for socializing. We faced a time of operating very differently. But no matter what, beyond keeping everyone safe, we strived for making sure our residents’ mental and emotional health were also being taken care of.
We could not do that alone. But fortunately, our community was more than willing to step in.
By mid-March, we identified some important goals we would be striving for throughout this difficult time at Mount Hope Nursing Center. Along with keeping in line with all federal guidelines for elderly care facilities, we were going to make sure other important vital things occurred as well, including:
- Ensuring residents’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being
- Ensuring mealtimes were safe, and increasing staffing for that to happen
- Caring for the morale of staff and keeping up necessary education
Second to an in-person visit, there is nothing more heart-warming to a nursing home resident than a card or letter. Right off the bat we asked our community to send everyone at Mount Hope something in the mail. We put out the call on our Mount Hope Nursing Center Facebook page. And you delivered!
We received dozens of cards for our residents who were suddenly dealing with a decrease in visits from loved ones.
Visitations still found a way to happen at Mount Hope, but in a very different way. In keeping with the important restrictions that kept visitors being allowed inside, friends and family took to our windows! Many of our residents were incredibly touched to see their loved ones come to our facility to share their faces and messages from outside their windows.
In addition to the window visits, our staff worked diligently with everyone who wanted to coordinate a FaceTime interactive visit or other online video chat with any of their friends or family who were here at Mount Hope Nursing Center (call us at 316-667-2431 to coordinate a video chat with one of our residents!) We took advantage of any way we could to keep socialization happening while still maintaining important social distancing.
Time for Bingo! This is a hugely popular activity at Mount Hope Nursing Center, and one we could not imagine canceling. So we found another way. We coordinated a shut-down version of Bingo in our nursing home. Residents stayed in the doorway of their room while staff, armed with walkie talkies, ran down the halls to keep the game going. It was a wonderful time for everyone involved!
Even the simplest of gestures were so greatly appreciated. Family of one of our residents colored pictures for each of our residents and hung them on the outside of each resident’s window! Everyone loved it.
With flowers beginning to bloom, we were again honored by even more of the generosity from our community. Thanks to flowers from Dillons Groceries and personal floral delivery from Matthew Rupp Consulting, our residents were treated with beautiful spring flowers at the end of March. It had been a trying few weeks adjusting to the growing pandemic, and so these flowers were such a welcome site for our residents.
In early April, we faced a serious problem that posed a danger to our staff. We did not have enough PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). We put out the call for help and again, our community rose to the challenge.
We were already so thankful to Halstead Coop for allowing us to obtain N95 masks right away. Then, after putting out a call for donations of PPE on Facebook, even more in the community came to our aid. Ember Technology in Wichita and Clock Medical in Winfield stepped up and allowed us to operate in the way that we needed for everyone’s safety. We even had people make us homemade masks!
Then we received a treat that was music to our ears. Our residents were treated to a private concert in the middle of a pandemic! We were so appreciative of Rocky and others from Phoenix Hospice for providing a much welcome outdoor concert for our residents. This happened a few days before Easter and helped provide a celebration to this wonderful holiday as we faced such limitations with religious traditions. While we couldn’t gather as we typically do, residents were still given special baskets and daffodils on this special day.
While we are in this uncertain time and are keenly aware of the responsibility entrusted in us for the safety of those most vulnerable to this illness, we continue to be overwhelmed with the support we see every day. Thank you to everyone in Mount Hope, Wichita and the surrounding areas for all you’ve done. We appreciate it. Our residents appreciate it. Together, we will get through this.
“We see so many nurses and physicians being applauded during this crisis we totally agree!
However – they can’t do it without the CNA’s who are truly in the line of Fire. Or without dietary cooking and preparing meals & snacks. ESS is needed to keep things clean and Maintenance is need to answer the cries for water leaks, clogged toilets, etc….
Social services / medical records / activities each provide a vital role as well.
SHOUT OUT TO THE CHAMPIONS OF MT HOPE NURSING CENTER – Bringing it every day to care for our most vulnerable!
Thank you thank you thank you!!!”
-Gina Terry, Mount Hope Nursing Center Administrator