This period of social distancing due to the COVID-19 virus has been difficult for many, but it has been especially difficult for those living in nursing homes, as well as for their loved ones.

This period of social distancing due to the COVID-19 virus has been difficult for many, but it has been especially difficult for those living in nursing homes, as well as for their loved ones.

Family members have been unable to visit residents at Luther Haven since the first stay at home order was enacted back in March. Residents are kept in their rooms to ensure their health and safety, and some family members have been visiting residents through the windows of their rooms in order to visit and interact with them.

Residents are still able to walk outside, individually if able, or one by one in separate courtyards, when assisted by staff.

According to Luther Haven Administrator Justin Hughes, for the most part, the residents have been very understanding of the current situation.

“They miss being out and about and seeing each other,” he said. “The isolation is difficult. The families visiting at the windows has been a great help with this. The staff are also trying to spend more time visiting with the residents as able.”

Residents who are unable to visit their family in person are still able to do so online with the help of Luther Haven’s Activity Department.

“Our Activity Department is assisting with FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, and other ways as well. We have iPads that we use for these visits,” said Hughes.

To reduce the feeling of isolation among the residents, Luther Haven has increased staff visits by all of their departments. Residents have one-to-one visits from the Activities Department, and they have dog visits and horse visits at the windows, also arranged by their Activities Department, “Which have been wonderful events as well,” Hughes stated.

According to Hughes, family members are still unable to visit the residents in person, with the exception being a single family member, making short visits to residents nearing the “end of their life.”

“This is a very difficult time, and we are following the guidance CDC and MDH are giving us. Since any extra people in the building place all residents at increased risk for getting COVID-19, our population is at extreme risk for death from contracting COVID-19,” Hughes explained.

Luther Haven staff is taking the necessary precautions to ensure their residents are safe during this pandemic, and wear masks during care rounds. According to Hughes, if there was a confirmed, or presumed case in the building, the resident would be cared for by staff wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Hughes added that it is an extremely stressful time for staff as well, and they are completely aware that COVID-19 is very deadly for the population of residents they serve.

“They are fearful and do not want to put the residents at risk,” said Hughes. “They have had many changes to their routine and work day. All staff need to enter the facility at the front door with their source mask on, have their temperature taken, and be asked screening questions before they are allowed to enter the facility and begin their workday.

“They work the entire day with a mask on, practice diligent hand hygiene, and try to provide extra TLC to the residents they are caring for,” he continued. “They can no longer see all the residents in the dining room, as we are required to pass room trays for all meals until this is over.”

Hughes said they are fortunate to have such a great team at Luther Haven and Copper Glen, and that their teamwork has been exceptional and they have done a fantastic job with all the changes. When the changes relating to COVID-19 began at Luther Haven, Hughes said they received a wonderful supply of movies and DVD players donated from the community.

He said, “It was greatly appreciated and the residents are enjoying movies in their rooms. We are continuing to accept donations for PPE and masks, and greatly appreciate all the PPE and masks we have received. We know a lot of time and effort has been dedicated to making the PPE and masks, and we greatly appreciate it.”