Golden Rule Home adapts to pandemic life for staff, residents

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star
Visitation polices have changed at Golden Rule Home but families still come to see residents and visit with them through a window.
Residents enjoy various activities including unique art classes.

Like other nursing homes in Pottawatomie County, Golden Rule Home in Bethel Acres continues to adapt to the pandemic and protect its residents.  

According to Administrator Jessica Mitchell, so far there has been about 38 positive coronavirus cases from both staff and residents there since August to early November.  

However, at this point in time, Mitchell said Golden Rule Home is COVID free.  

"At this time our county is currently listed in the red, we are COVID free within our facility but we must do what we can to continue to protect our population," Mitchell said.  

The administrator said over the last few months, Golden Rule has changed its visitation polices for its 43 residents at various times.  

"Visitations have been a challenge for everyone: staff, residents, and families.," Mitchell said. "We want to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep our residents and employees as safe as we can."  

However, Mitchell said the facility is aware how difficult it is for residents to have limited vitiations.  

"We are trying to facilitate more window visits, more virtual phone calls with loved ones and are working on an indoor 'visitation booth,"' Mitchell said.  

She said inside visits are for comfort care with Hospice residents only. 

While there have been positive cases among both staff and residents, she said Golden Rule Home has procedures in place to prevent coronavirus from spreading.  

"If a staff member is positive for COVID then they are asked to quarantine at home for a specified amount of time. Once they are not symptomatic, not running a fever and have met the amount of time off, then they are allowed to return to work," Mitchell said.  

If a resident tests positive, Mitchell said they are moved to the COVID Unit within the building and monitored, treated and quarantined until they no longer show systems and are cleared to return to their regular rooms.  

To help residents maintain a sense of normalcy Mitchell said Golden Rule Home has various activities for them to participate in, including Bingo, socially distanced birthday parties, nail and spa day and holiday decorating.  

"Our dining rooms are large enough that we are able to space tables out for social distancing to allow one person per table during meal times," Mitchell said. "This allows for a somewhat 'normal' socialized dining setting for the residents." 

Mitchell said some residents are holding up well as they've lived through many hard times in their long lives, but several others still struggle day-to-day as the pandemic continues.  

"For others, though, there are days with ups and downs, it takes a lot of reminders that things will get better, visitation will eventually go back to a normal setting, loved ones are still there for them and that they can see them by window or virtual settings," Mitchell added.  

In addition to the residents, she said staff members are struggling but continue to persevere because it's their job. 

"Most staff during this pandemic are overworked, tired and scared, however they prevail and push through it; they are strong and carry their heads held up and bear the burden of the 'unknown' stress," Mitchell said.  

The administrator said she hopes COVID will end and when it does Golden Rule Home can celebrate with a welcome home party for residents and families.  

"We want to cry happy tears with our residents and families while they are getting to embrace one another for the first time in almost a year," Mitchell said. "We want to hear the laughter of children in the building as they get to visit with Grandma and Grandpa. To see sons (and) daughters, husbands (and) wives walking the hallways with smiles on their faces of relief and gratitude to being able to be with their loved ones once again."