Residents at Hopkinsville’s Carriage House Assisted Living sat playing Uno on a recent afternoon, business as usual at the facility on Cool Water Court in the city.
Activities for the men and women who call the facility home haven’t changed much in the wake of the coronavirus, said Carriage Hall Director Janice Morbeck, apart from churches who can’t host Bible studies or bingo on the premises.
“It’s pretty much business as usual except for checking for fevers and limiting family member at a time and check that person at the door for fever and illness,” she said.
If the visitor is ill, he or she will not be allowed to visit again for 14 days.
Likewise, Morbeck said residents of the facility aren’t being allowed to leave, but if they decide to leave the facility, they must be gone for 14 days as well.
In the wake of efforts announced earlier by Gov. Andy Beshear to severely restrict visitors to nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the state, officials at local facilities say their residents are doing well in the aftermath of the virus.
“Certainly they miss their loved ones, but we have some Facebook opportunities for them to speak with their loved ones individually,” said Richard Covington, the assistant administrator and social services director at Covington’s Convalescent Center, adding that the facility is also working on making Skype available so residents can have video chats with their family members.
Covington said the center is discontinuing group activities in keeping with actions urged by the national Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and its activities department is expanding its existing activities for room-bound residents to include all the residents at the convalescent center.
Covington said only people who provide vital operations for the center, i.e., food vendors, lab and X-ray workers, are allowed on the campus.
He noted that none of the residents at the center are sick.
“(We) hope we can keep it that way,” he said.
Cindy Tabor, the long-term care ombudsman for the Pennyrile region, said she believes there’s an overall sadness with both residents and their family members about not being able to visit with each other at nursing homes right now.
But she cites officials who work in the nursing home industry and offers suggestions for bridging the gaps caused by the lack of visits with loved ones.
Go old-school and send residents a hand-written letter or a card in the mail, she said, noting that it will give them something they can hold onto and re-read.
Do Facetime phone calls or Skype, both of which are available at local facilities.
Tabor said she was still able to visit the nursing homes last week, early on in the wake of the onset of the coronavirus but is now unable to do so. She has, however, sent posters to each of her facilities in the nine-county region including her name, phone number and the COVID-19 website, kycovid19.ky.gov.
Tabor said she is still available to deal with any issues, and she urged families to reach out to her if needed. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at either 1-800-928-7233 or 270-886-9484.
“Any concerns that residents or family have, I’m still here,” Tabor noted. “We’re still here to advocate for residents, and we know it’s a scary time.”
Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or email@example.com.