Visitors barred from castle: Good Shepherd residents finding ways to reach the outside

Coronavirus

"Me and my husband have been married for 55 years and this is the first time we've really been apart."

The Good Shepherd was one of the first nursing homes in West Virginia to restrict all visitor access when this pandemic became a national emergency.

After a week with no outside visitation, how have the 192 residents been coping?

An administrator says he’s actually been receiving numerous calls from families of residents thanking him for the decision to stop in-person interaction. And, the nursing home is getting creative by purchasing some alternative forms of visitation.

What we’ve asked our family members to do is to call in and ask to speak with their loved ones. We have tablets on each nursing unit. We call the family back and place the loved one on the screen. They can actually see each other which has boosted morale.

Don Kirsch, Administrator of Good Shepherd Nursing Home & Manager of Welty Corp.

The fun doesn’t stop with this quarantine. You’ve heard of the iconic game of BINGO, and don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere. It just has some modifications.

On their TVs they will be able to see the cards and play bingo. We will have staff going through the hallways when they play bingo.

Carol Bowman, Activity staff member at Good Shepherd

It’s just like playing bingo in front of a number caller. When someone has a bingo, we call the person calling the numbers and ask them to stop and we call the numbers out.

Don Kirsch, Administrator of Good Shepherd Nursing Home & Manager of Welty Corp.

The windows are a little high up, but that hasn’t stopped family members from popping by, at a safe distance.

He was down in the parking lot waving to me, and I was in my window waving back at him.

Celia, Resident at Good Shepherd

She was down there, so we talked through the window kind of. We had a little conversation.

Peg, Resident at Good Shepherd

Though technology and the one-on-one activity staff are making this quarantine process easier, the screens can be a lonely reminder for some residents that they are apart from those they love.

Me and my husband have been married for 55 years and this is the first time we’ve really been apart. It’s lonely. Even though we have other patients we can talk to, our family and our loved ones can’t come to us.

Celia, Resident at Good Shepherd

Isolation is key, especially with a virus that targets the older generation. But, getting cooped up inside gets boring for anyone. That’s why residents can still appreciate this spring weather escorted by staff members.

I take my walks, and I’ve been able to entertain myself.

Peg, Resident at Good Shepherd

“We’re keeping them busy, we’re keeping them happy. If they smile when we leave, then we’ve done our job.”

Carol Bowman, Activity staff member at Good Shepherd

The facility has had minor shutdowns in the past due to the annual flu being brought in by guests. But nothing like this.

I love him (husband). I miss him. But I don’t want them (the residents) to get sick either. So, we’ll be patient and try to weather this.

Celia, Resident at Good Shepherd

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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