As the temperatures are plunging into single digits this winter, the staff at the Landings of Kaukauna worked swiftly in planning and executing an innovative solution to keep families warm while visiting residents in a safe manner. In July 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services had relaxed COVID-19 guidelines for long term care facilities to allow for communities that met certain requirements to conduct outdoor visitation to address the psychosocial needs of residents. During the warmer months, The Landings of Kaukauna hosted outdoor visitation through their Table Talks program.
Facing brutal temperatures as the holidays were approaching, the staff at The Landings of Kaukauna aimed to continue supporting the much-needed social interaction between residents and their families while being safe. To obtain this goal, they created a heated separate visiting room furnished with comfortable chairs for families to sit during the visit. All surfaces are disinfected between visits for safety. To maintain a safe distance, the families are separated from the residents with a wall that features a window so they can see each other. The joy and excitement seen on the faces of families and residents alike are priceless.
“I am so excited to be able to visit with family again in a warm and welcoming space,” says a family member of a resident at The Landings of Kaukauna. “Even though we cannot hug or touch each other, it is great to see the smile and joy on their faces.”
“Visitation during the holidays provides the desired connection that residents and their families’ desire and it brings so much delight and life to our community.” says Cindy Gillis, Executive Director of The Landings of Kaukauna. “We are thrilled that we can bring families and residents together during the cold months of the holidays to continue supporting social engagement in our community in a safe manner.”
Continuing visitation safely at The Landings of Kaukauna is an important key to support social engagement among the resident population. The National Institute on Aging has conducted several research studies that show a correlation between social interaction among seniors and their health and well-being. These emotional bonds can lead to healthier lifestyles including being active, eating healthy foods, and ceasing poor health habits such as smoking.
As the COVID-19 virus is still prevalent and can be devastating to vulnerable populations, communities participating in visitation will continue to be vigilant in implementing strict infection control measures in conjunction with following and adhering to local, state Department of Health and CDC guidelines. To strive for the safest possible interaction, the visitation program has strict rules for participation. Some restrictions include that the visitor is required to schedule an appointment, undergo screening such as health questionnaires and temperature checks, and wear a mask during the entire visit. If visitors do not have a mask, the community will supply one for them.
The Landings of Kaukauna remains open and is admitting new assisted living and memory care residents. Private and friendship suites are available and are move-in ready. In these times of isolation, it had been particularly difficult for older adults who may not have options to go out to obtain necessary items or socialize as society reopens. The Landings of Kaukauna provides a dedicated staff that are trained and certified to assist in daily support functions such as bathing, dressing, medication management and especially the ability to immediately respond to crisis situations. Furthermore, the staff at The Landings of Kaukauna works diligently and creatively to ensure that their residents are engaged every day by providing activities such as hallway exercises, gardening, crafts, and creating music. To add another layer of safety in the Landings of Kaukauna, residents and staff at the community are in the first tier group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.