‘We took it in honor of the residents we lost,’ Timberlane Health & Rehab takes first dose of vaccine

Arkansas News

EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — As 2020 comes to a close, a long term care facility in El Dorado joins other facilities across the world in getting the Covid-19 vaccine.

Premier Pharmacy went door to door giving the first dose of the Moderna vaccine to residents at Timberlane Health and Rehabilitation.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride. Yes, a rollercoaster ride.” Deborah Jordan said.

“The past few months have been rough and I feel like we’re on the other side of it,” Holly Riggs added.

Family members of all of the residents other than about four of them chose to get vaccinated. Staff members also had an an opportunity to receive the vaccine.

Timberlane’s Activity Director, Holly Riggs, took it with her grandfather who is a resident in the facility.

“It was really neat to be able to share, in my eyes, such a historical moment,” she said.

About 40 residents and 30 staff members have been affected by the virus.

As everyone waits to receive the second dose, nurses say each resident will be monitored closely for possible reactions to the vaccine.

“They’ll be what we call on the hot rack where there will be increased monitoring for at least the last 72 hours if not longer, vital signs every shift. Just watching for any changes at all,” Director of Nursing, Andrea Hammett said.

During the pandemic, family members haven’t been able to visit their loved ones in the facilities which has been hard for them and the healthcare workers.

Staff allowed a number of alternative ways for everyone to communicate through window visits, video calls and by phone. 

“They miss the social interaction with each other and their loved ones,” Hammett said. “They were used to being out and about going to the beauty shop, out to eat, playing bingo.  Now they spend more time in their rooms watching tv or doing hall activities.”

Some of these nurses took on very unexpected roles during the shutdown because family members couldn’t visit as normal.

“We had to start doing a lot of stuff that family members normally would’ve normally done,” Hammett said. “We were doing a lot of things we never dreamed of doing. We had to become that family member during that time.”

“We did hair,” Jordan added. “We were doing a roll and set.”

Just like every other long term care facility, there were residents they lost because of this deadly virus which took a toll on workers because everyone within those walls are like family.

The staff that took the shot on Thursday said when they rolled up their sleeves all they could do was think about those that passed away.

“We all took it in honor of the residents that were lost. Not just here in our long term care facility but in general all of those that were lost,” Hammett said.

Residents and staff will receive the 2nd round of the Moderna Covid-19 Vaccine on January 28.  During that time, any new residents, new staff or anyone who has changed their mind can take the first shot.

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