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Vaccinated residents of Jewish Nursing Home get in-person visits with loved ones

LONGMEADOW –  Last month family members were welcomed into The Leavitt Family Jewish Nursing Home to visit their loved ones in the privacy of their own rooms under a new family visitation policy. Following new guidelines released by Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), any resident who has been fully vaccinated (and gone through the 14-day waiting period after their final dose of a Covid-19 vaccine) is eligible to receive fully-vaccinated visitors in his or her room.  “Our Mom has been here since before Covid,” said Beth Croteau, when going through the screening process with her sister Sonya Brenton to visit their mother Patricia Brenton. “We’ve enjoyed our socially distanced visits outdoors and in the auditorium, but we have never seen the new room she moved into. We are excited to see the space she has been living in and give her a big hug and embrace!” 

Patricia Benton enjoyed an in-room visit with daughters Beth Croteau and Sonya Brenton, and then stepped outside to enjoy the beautiful weather and the warm sun.

Brad and Jane Albert arrived carrying a  bouquet of flowers for Brad’s mother, Marcia Albert, who they were excited to finally get to see and spend some quality time with.

“We’ve been counting the days and hours to see her,” Brad said. 

Jane, an executive at Baystate Health knows all too well the hardship of families not being able visit their loved ones. “I am aware on a daily basis of the challenges families face when separated from those they love.  Being away from Mom for so long in addition to not being able to be with her as she transitioned into her new home at the Leavitt Family Jewish Home was challenging.  Knowing we can now visit with mom is certainly bringing us all much comfort and joy.” 

When Cantor Martin Levson walked into his wife Sheri’s room her eyes lit up.  Martin has frequently visited his wife Sheri through socially distanced visits both indoors and outdoors, weather permitting. 

Jean Topolski and Joanne Duggan arrived to visit with Joanne’s mother-in-law Joyce Duggan.  Jean is Joyce’s neighbor of 50 years and they raised their children together. “I don’t want to lose my good friend now,” she said. “I am looking forward to seeing her and have a few laughs!”

Joyce Duggan enjoys seeing her daughter-in-law JoAnn Duggan and long-time neighbor and friend Jean Topolski to catch up and share some laughs.

“One of the hardest things to implement during this pandemic has been the restrictions on family in-person visitations, due to our need to implement social distancing measures and infection control practices,” said Rob Whitten, executive director of the Leavitt Family Jewish Home.  “The safety and wellbeing of each and every one of our residents has been and remains our top priority.  I appreciate how patient and resilient our families have been during these very challenging times. With the drop in our community positivity rate and the vaccines being more readily available we are now able to offer in-room visits. It is so encouraging to see the happy smiles and embraces, and sometimes tears, of families reunited.”

Measures are still underway to screen all visitors.  Family members must wait at least 14 days after receiving their second vaccine before they can visit. Temperatures are checked, and a questionnaire is filled out, to ensure that the visit is safe. For those not eligible for in-resident room visits, the process for indoor and outdoor visits remains the same. The Leavitt Family Jewish Home will continue to comply with DPH’s surveillance testing program of all residents and staff.  Should there be a Covid-19 positive case in the building all indoor visits will be suspended and already scheduled visits will automatically be converted to outdoor visits, until the necessary days for Covid-19 clearance have passed.  

For more information, call The Leavitt Family Jewish Nursing Home at 413-567-6211 or visit JGSLifecare.org.

Main Photo: Ann Oliminsky enjoys a visit from longtime friend Mary Jo Salvon in her room at Sosin Center for Rehabilitation.  Mary Jo and Anne are longtime friends, having graduated together from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing many years ago. “It’s nice to be able to come in and visit Anne in her room,” Mary Jo said.  

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