Nursing homes taking small steps toward normalcy

Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The Portage County Health Care Center (PCHCC) is taking small steps in getting back to normal, while still keeping everyone safe.

It’s been more than one year since many of the people living at the Portage County Health Care Center have seen family in person instead of on a computer screen or through a glass window.

“Yesterday my brother came to visit me and it was just a nice day, we went outside,” Portage County Health Care Center Resident Charlotte Wierzba said.

For people living in nursing homes like Charlotte Wierzba, being cooped up inside is no picnic.

“Being alone is not the greatest thing,” Wierzba said.

In March, the Portage County Health Care Center loosened some visiting restrictions, allowing family to see each other masked and socially distanced both indoors and out.

“We had a whole hour to ourselves and we watched the chipmunks running around and a couple of geese and ducks came to visit us,” Wierzba said.

PCHCC is proud to say they remain Covid-free. They continue to follow CDC guidance to ensure the home stays that way and having social interactions again is a game changer.

“The biggest thing that I saw was the tactile ability, still safely but the power of touch and the power of being close to one another can never be stressed enough,” PCHCC Administrator Marcia McDonald said.

McDonald said vaccinations are not required of visitors, but they go through a strict screening process before entering.

Since the loosening of restrictions, group activities and games are happening once again.

“It was huge for morale and spirit because after a year of just kind of being secluded it was huge,” PCHCC Activities Assistant Terry Streicher said.

They do everything including crafts and games. Nutrition has also played a major role in keeping folks healthy.

They’ve even re-opened the dining room.

“We keep it as good as we can for them,” cook Roxanne Wegner said. “We try to make it as homemade as possible so the residents can have that feel that they haven’t had for a long time.”

PCHCC plans to continue to following CDC guidelines and this summer they’re opening a new gazebo to allow for even more safe social interactions.

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