LI Nursing Home Staff Keeps Spirits Up During COVID-19 Crisis Using Creativity and Kindness

Written by Long Island  |  02. February 2021

Nursing homes in New York have largely not allowed visitation or group activities since March 2020, but recreation staff at some Long Island nursing and rehabilitation centers have had their creativity in overdrive, coming up with a variety of ways to keep residents active and social.

Take the across-the-hallway cornhole games at Excel at Woodbury for Rehabilitation and Nursing. In fact, resident Stephen Sorensen still has a pretty good throw from his doorway. Corn Hole competitions are held every Wednesday and usually get about a dozen participants.

“Keeping our residents socially engaged is so important during this challenging time,” said Excel Recreation Director Kim Gioia. “It’s a good way to combat loneliness and gives everyone something to look forward to.”

In addition to socially-distancing corn hole games, residents also play games of bingo and trivia while sitting in their doorway.

Personal and caring service that could be described as “acts of kindness” during these trying times are common. There’s Adelphi student Brianna Paino, who serves as a Concierge at Lynbrook Restorative Therapy and Nursing. Before COVID-19 protocols, the bakery in the lobby was visited frequently by residents who wanted to get a sweet treat. But now Brianna makes the bakery run for residents.

Resident roommates Caroline Manna, 97, and Cornelia Mason, 76, look forward to getting their bakery items from Brianna but even more, they look forward to her visits.

“It’s a small gesture that I enjoy doing for Mrs. Manor and Mrs. Mason and knowing that they look forward to my visits means so much to me,” said Brianna.

At Excel, some of the staff members with musical talent give impromptu concerts and the music is played throughout the facility.

Josh Kovner, a therapeutic recreation assistant at Excel at Woodbury Rehabilitation and Nursing, brings his guitar to work and enjoys playing for the residents.

“With COVID-19 rules still prohibiting visitors from the outside, we are doing all we can to give our residents opportunities for socializing, whether it’s through Facetime calls with families, or phone calls,” said Excel Administrator Stacy Altman “Our staff goes above and beyond to provide them with whatever they need, whether it’s a cookie or a visit. Human contact at a time like this is as important as food and water! While nothing can replace a visit from a loved one, we are using our talents and creativity to fill the gap.”

Story contributed by Excel at Woodbury for Rehabilitation and Nursing.


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