Outdoor Visits At WHRC Are A Go!

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
After about six months of virtual visitations only at Warsaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, Phase One of a reopening plan began on October 5. Residents at the Center are now allowed to have outside visits with their loved ones on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for 20 minutes at a time. The visits can be made anytime between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM.
“Our residents can sit at beautiful outside tables that were made for our facility by Ag Slavens,” said Reba Slavens, Admissions and Marketing Coordinator of the Center.”As long as we remain COVID-19 free and the number of cases in Benton County begin going down, then we will begin planning Phase Two of reopening that will allow visitors to come into the building. But, we will still enforce strict guidelines to promote safety.”
Slavens said that Larry Johnston, at Broken Vessel Ministries, will also return to the center to give outside church service. The services were put on hold during the recent months of lock down.
“Everybody is doing better than they did initially,” said Slavens. “During our months of  strict precautions, it was hard for some people to understand why their loved ones couldn’t visit them in the Center. Residents are still eating in their rooms, but we are starting to move into some group services and activities. We have active gardening and one-on-one activities like Bingo.  You can see a resident sitting in the hall outside his or her room playing bingo with residents sitting across the hall.”
In March 2020 local nursing homes began taking precautions to protect their residents from contracting COVID-19. Those precautions meant that residents were alone more of the time, even during meals when they usually ate in groups. Supplies such as gloves, masks, and toilet paper were hard to come by, and all mail and other deliveries were left on the front doors of facilities. Staff had to have their temperatures taken before entering the buildings, and they had to scramble to gather electronic devices for patients to use for virtual visits with their families. Other creative ways to visit were introduced such as window visits where the resident was on the inside and the family on the outside. They communicated by using white boards to write messages to each other.
On June 16, Missouri reopened many of the state’s economic and social activities, and some nursing homes and care centers began to relax their rules for visitation. 
Good Samaritan Care Center in Cole Camp began allowing families and friends of residents to visit them on the outside grounds of the center. They could sit at stations (porch visitations) where a plexiglass sneeze guard was placed in the middle of tables that seated two people at a time. There was also a hug station with holes in plexiglass where residents put on long sleeved gloves before reaching through the holes for a hug. The same procedures are in place.
“The state now allows indoor visitors if the county’s positivity rate is below 10 percent,” said Kathy Williams, Administrator of Good Samaritan. “But, our county had 17.4 percent positivity rate on October 5. We have been testing our employees for COVID-19 since July, and three have tested positive. But, none of our residents have tested positive. We remain proactive and have been found deficiency free in our last two inspections.” 
Bristol Manor, in Lincoln, began allowing two visitors at a time to visit residents outside while wearing masks, and is still continuing to do so.
Lincoln Community Care Center and Lakeside Suites continued to enforce restrictions against visitors until recently when it began allowing 15 minute visits inside the facility according to guidelines issued by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on September 17. The facility has fortunately had no cases of COVID-19. 
Ambrose Park Residential Care Facility in Cole Camp opened up visitation by friends and family to an area outside of its facility in June. They continue to follow that procedure and are grateful that there have been no problems.
The Benton County Health Department reported on October 8, that the county had 418 cumulative positive cases of COVID-19, 50 active cases, 362 released cases, 10 hospitalized cases, and six deaths.