SPRINGFIELD — The joy in the air was evident as the residents of Effingham Care and Rehabilitation Center saw each other in person for the first time in many weeks May 8.
Staff at the center arranged family parades in which residents were able to see their families driving by in decorated vehicles. The signs on both sides were supportive and full of love.
During this time of isolation and feeling disconnected from family and friends, this was a wonderful outpouring of love and connection," said Octavia Fain, director of Nursing for Effingham Care and Rehabilitation Center. "The turnout was amazing, and there wasn't a dry eye."
The care center was ahead of the curve in restricting visitation, which has been a critical factor in keeping both residents and staff COVID-19-free (at the time of this writing). While it has been hard on both sides, the residents' families have been overwhelmingly supportive and understanding.
Valarie Ward, the center's activities director, explained what motivated the parades.
"You can't work in this environment without caring as much about their families as you do the residents,” she said.
The staff is also staying in touch with families through weekly update calls. They use computer tablets to connect residents with their family members virtually.
According to Fain, "It reinspired them that we are going to get through this."
After seeing his beloved dog, one resident commented, "That is a beautiful thing you did."