For Nursing Homes, Vaccines Bring Glimmers of Hope

Nearly 200 residents and staff members at Scandia Village–Good Samaritan in Sister Bay received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine Dec. 30. Scandia Village Administrator Michele Notz said it was the first of three vaccination clinics they will host at the long-term-care facility.

“It was exciting,” Notz said. “It went really well. Walgreens sent up their pharmacists, and we partnered with local Emergency Services, who supplied some volunteers to come in and help us with our clinic and monitoring stations.”

Notz said it has been an anxious year for nursing home staff members as they have navigated the pandemic, worked to keep residents safe and connected families without regular visitation.

“They’ve done an awesome job with our residents,” she said. “The pandemic has totally changed how we do things, but everybody worked really hard to keep it positive.”

That has meant helping residents talk to family members through iPads, phones or window visits. 

“We all love our families and want to see them,” Notz said. “For our staff, it has been our goal all along to do what we could. We were blessed with awesome summer weather to do outdoor visits. Then with winter, we haven’t been able to do those visits. But now we’re gearing up, at some point, to begin some indoor visits in a safe environment with precautionary barriers.”

The vaccinations give residents a glimmer of hope “to think about doing something close to normal,” Notz said. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to relax our precautions. We still have to keep that heightened alert. But it’s a step.”

At Anna’s Healthcare in Sturgeon Bay, the wait for vaccines continues. Anna’s is a Community Based Residential Facility, not a nursing home, so it did not receive vaccines during the first round of rollouts, said facility manager Brenda Mroczynski.

“We have not been offered the vaccine yet, but we’re hoping to sometime in January,” Mroczynski said.

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