By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is Good Shepherd Lutheran Community, which is caring for the physical, social, and emotional needs of its residents.
Good Shepherd Lutheran Community is a senior living community in Blair, Nebraska, offering skilled nursing care, assisted living, subsidized housing, and independent living. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Good Shepherd Lutheran Community has worked hard to keep residents safe and healthy, including following all guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and remaining in frequent contact with other entities at the national, state, and local levels to remain up to date on protocols. The team at Good Shepherd Lutheran Community met daily to discuss operations, keeping the residents’ physical, cognitive, and psychosocial well-being at the forefront of all they do.
Like many other senior living communities, restricting visitors has been tough for the residents at Good Shepherd Lutheran Community. Administrator Sharon Colling said that while visitor restrictions have been in place, residents have been able to interact with their families at the door of the facilities or spoken through the glass, and Good Shepherd has iPads onsite for residents to use to talk with their families.
Recently, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced that, though it will be a long process, long-term care facilities can begin phasing in to opening soon to allow visitors. Nebraska is still in Phase 1 of reopening and it isn’t until Phase 3 that visitors are allowed for limited visitation, but the state has requested plans from facilities like Good Shepherd as they prepare for what Phase 3 will look like. HHS and CMS released guidance for long-term care facilities, which Good Shepherd used to craft a safe plan for visitation, which would allow for visitors by appointment only, in designated areas, and with everyone wearing masks.
Collings said she is really excited for when Good Shepherd can allow visitors, and she will notify families as soon as plans are approved by the state. "I know how difficult it is for the residents, and there is nothing I'm looking forward to more than for them being together," Colling said. "The separation of the residents and their families has been the most difficult thing I have ever endured in my career."
Thank you to Good Shepherd Lutheran Community for keeping your residents’ holistic well-being as a top priority, and for making well-informed plans to safely allow for visitors soon!