Protecting the emotional health of vulnerable populations

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ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Staff at the Ashley Health and Rehabilitation Center in Rogers say they’re working hard to protect residents’ physical and emotional health.

“When they live in facilities like this, they’re away from their families a lot more than they would have been when they’re in a home setting,” said Jasmeen Williams, director of activities at the center. “Here is where they build other families and friendships and bond with people.”

Williams said staff have had to make changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We can’t have but so many residents in one place at one time,” Williams said. “We have to keep them six feet apart. And facilities only have but so much square footage.”

Change can be tough for this vulnerable population, so staff members had to get strategic in several ways, including spacing out the seating in the dining room.

“They can sit and they can still do bingo with their friends, Williams said. “They can still win prizes. They can still see each other. They can still talk.”

Staff also give residents extra attention when they can.

“We get together and we’re doing a lot more of the one on one stuff,” Williams said. “Making sure we take this extra moment that we have and talk to a resident versus putting something into the computer. It’s already a person centered care, but now it’s really personal.”

The effort doesn’t go unnoticed by residents.

“Jasmeen has become like a family member to me,” said resident, Florence Wall-Esteep. “I feel like I can go talk to her about anything and she always tries to help me solve it.”

Williams said she thinks the pandemic will change everyday interactions.

“People are going to be way more appreciative of each other,” Williams said. :Because of the fact they’ve had to be away from each other for so long. They’ve had to miss out on things.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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