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It’s been almost a week since Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order which stated that people shall not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance. This was in accordance with guidelines from the President of the United States and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. 


Although visitors have not been permitted inside these facilities, Sterling County Nursing Home has continued to find a way to keep their residents engaged and safe.  


Derek Rankin, Administrator for the facility, told KBest News that it took some adjustments because they’re used to trying to engage their residents with the community, and with visits from family, friends, and volunteers. 


“We really had to make a lot of adjustments since we don’t get those luxuries anymore. [We thought,] how do we continue life within the walls confined in there and still make it fun for [residents] and make it feel normal and safe and secure?” said Rankin.


As far as how staff has been impacted by the Executive Order, Rankin pointed out that they’re fortunate to still be able to work and stated, “We just kinda focus on taking care of people who need it the most.”


Sterling County Nursing Home recently posted a video of an indoor parade on their Faceboo page. The video showed their staff dancing with residents to Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” while residents displayed fun signs on why they're on "lockdown". In under 24 hours, it has received over 24,000 views and over 400 shares.


Rankin told KBest News that the Facebook page has been a great way to update the community on how residents are doing, and they’ve gotten great feedback from family members who appreciate getting to see pictures of their loved ones during this time when they can’t visit. 


In spite of the restrictions that residents are currently under, Rankin advised that keeping residents engaged has been beneficial to give them something to look forward to and get COVID-19 news off their mind. He also emphasized that it’s the staff at Sterling County Nursing Home that really makes the difference with their hard work and that advised that they’re blessed to have them.


According to Rankin, people can continue to communicate with residents through phone calls, facetime, or other effective ways.


“It’s mostly just utilizing the technology around us," said Rankin. "If you can’t come in the door, you can communicate via that technology, or find creative ways to keep a barrier between you and them and still have fun with it.” 

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