Some nursing homes hesitant to reopen facilities

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TULSA, Okla. — -In just a few days, June 1st, Oklahoma will enter phase three as the state continues to reopen during a pandemic. However, some nursing homes and long term care facilities say while these changes happen, not much has changed in their facilities under the governor’s executive order.

-COO Kimberly Green of Diakonos Group, a long term care provider that operates multiple nursing and rehabilitation facilities in the greater Tulsa area, says her staff has continued to see a rise in depression among their residents. She says with guidelines still in place to keep their most vulnerable population safe, some of these residents have been isolated for nearly 150 days and have not been able to visit with family members in person. She says they continue to offer more one-on-one visits with staff and counseling via telehealth.

-Green says it’s extremely important to be cautious when looking ahead to reopen these facilities. She said a wrong move could result in the spread of the virus moving quickly throughout these older communities.

-Staff says they are aware of the challenges during these unprecedented times, however, Green says she is concerned while Oklahoma moves forward without thinking of the elderly who are more at risk. With more people attending social gatherings, returning to work, and less and less wearing face masks and social distancing, Green says these conditions could create more of a risk to the most vulnerable. She says one asymptomatic employee could result in several residents getting sick in these facilities.

-Green asks the public to think of simple gestures like wearing a mask as an act of kindness to protect these residents