Family Reunions Bring Our Joy Back
On March 13, 2020 we had to take measures that just a few days before would have seemed unimaginable; we had to close Wesbury to all but essential workers. At that time, we figured it would be just a couple weeks so we could “flatten the curve.”
In retrospect, it seemed like we were in slow motion in those early days. That first two weeks felt like forever as we wondered whether or not we could find toilet paper anywhere. Then those weeks turned into months, but as summer ended, we felt like we had been on the right track moving into fall. Families began reuniting with outdoor visits and we were preparing to start indoor visitations when our first positive cases began to appear, and we had to close all visitations again. This time, the ban on visitation went beyond the holidays and into the New Year. This was a tough time for the entire Wesbury community; residents, staff, volunteers, and our extended families and friends.
2021 brought hope. We had just started to get vaccines to residents and staff and it felt like light was beginning to shine after a very long night. There were ups and downs as the positivity rates dropped, but we could feel it getting better all the time.
Then, almost one year later to the date, we received word that we could safely open back up to visitors.
The feelings those first few days back to in-person visits were emotional and filled with beautiful moments for everyone. For some, it has been a year since they were together, and while we are still required to follow precautions, this time around, family members can be together in the same room. They can be close. They can even hug one another…an expression that seemed like a long time gone, but we’re so happy to be back in each other’s arms. During an interview with the local media, Sheila Bundy, Administrator for Grace Rehabilitation and Health Center was asked how it feels to offer visitation again to which she replied: “It’s hard to put into words, simply put, having families back in the building has brought our joy back.”
“The first visits really pulled on your heartstrings,” says Melissa Swartwood, Director of Life Enrichment and Volunteer Services. “They were powerful, emotional, and intense! It was exciting to see the long awaited reunions bring so much joy to the residents and their families. Understandably, there were some tears, but some families lost an entire year of quality time and memories with their loved ones, it is going to take a little while to process those feelings. From a life enrichment perspective, we are committed to using all our efforts and available resources to make up for some of that lost time as restrictions continue to loosen up even more.”
Residents of Grace and Cribbs are permitted to go out/off campus without quarantine upon return as long as they are fully vaccinated and have not been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Available visitation options, days and times may vary by care level and location based on COVID-19 activity at Wesbury and/or within the county. For more information, please visit the COVID Updates page.