Like many other nursing homes, residents at Elk Haven Nursing Home and Silver Creek terrace in St Marys have not been able to see each other, play games or do outdoor activities since March.
Seeing family members in person has been on hold, as well.
“We tried to do some window visits, but you had to have an actual closed window as a barrier, so it was difficult for a lot of people to communicate through that closed barrier,” Arlene Anderson, Administrator for Elk Haven Nursing Home & Silver Creek Terrace, said.
On Monday, both Elk Haven and Silver Creek started visitation hours from 8AM to 8PM, for residents.
Family members or friends, two at a time can now see their loved ones under a covering, six feet away.
“The first, about 5 minutes after I posted the announcement, we just started getting flooded with phone calls and I think filled up four pages of people to return phone calls to, to set up appointments,” Anderson, said.
Before welcoming visitors back the facilities had to test all residents and staff, receive all negative results, and get supplies like coverings and wipes in place.
“It’s just been a real moral booster for everybody, ya know, the residents, the families and the staff,” Anderson, said. “It really has not been an easy thing for any of the staff here to go through either, so it’s really made everyone happy.”
Starting next week, a hairstylist will be able to give residents their first haircuts in five months.
Elk Haven and Silver Creek hope to be able to have allow visitors indoors, by September.