Nursing home: Residents’ mental health biggest concern during pandemic

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The race for personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, has hit places like nursing homes especially hard, which is why Governor Roy Cooper announced more PPE is on its way to facilities in North Carolina.

However in the Cape Fear, Coastal Cove Assisted Living Facility says it actually hasn’t had any cases of coronavirus. Staff also say their biggest challenge doesn’t actually have to do with positive cases or securing enough PPE.

“We ran short maybe a day or so, but other than that we’ve been really, very good,” Thellia Meadows, a nurse at the facility, said.

Meadows says they started taking safety precautions about a week before the state mandated them, and so far, they haven’t had any positive COVID cases.

“No symptoms from day one,” she said. “We continue to do the temp checks and symptom check every day and they’re doing great.”

The facility is smaller, with only six residents. The owner says the big issue for them isn’t securing PPE and other equipment, but instead keeping a close eye on their residents’ mental health.

“A big part of care is not just the bathing and the ADLs we provide,” Owner and Administrator Justin LuQuire said. “It is keeping them happy, keeping them healthy. Keeping them active is a big piece.”

Luquire says it’s pretty tough to keep residents active when everyone is stuck inside.

“It’s a matter of just being creative with them,” he said. “Finding out what they want to do. Finding activities to do in-house without bringing people in to do it.”

Since visitors are not allowed at nursing homes right now, staff says the lack of outside interaction with friends and family has taken quite a toll on residents.

Face timing and having them look in the windows, and waving, and calling,” Meadows said. “That’s been monumental in their mental health.”

LuQuire says it’s by taking these precautions though, they’ve been lucky to see no positive cases over the last few months.

“It’s a matter of following the protocols the state mandated for us to do,” he said. “There’s a reason we had those mandates in place, and following that pretty much to a T is what’s kept us happy, healthy and safe.”

The facility is waiting to see if we enter Phase 2 Friday, but LuQuire says they’ve already started lookng at ways to get their residents outside for safe, socially distant activities.

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