Comfort Corner Staff
So it was impossible to pick 1 when you have such an amazing hardworking group of people. The comfort corner staff at the Woodlands health and Rehabilitation center in Ravenna, Ohio was that group of people that easily became my heroes. Gonna give a little background as to how I became part of this amazing family.
In August of 2019 we had to make the tough decision to put my grandmother in a nursing home. This was one of the hardest decisions for our family to make. When my Grandmother got moved in I spent the first week looking for everything wrong. I would visit her daily and very quickly realized the group of people my grandmother was with. These nurses and aides were there for so much more than a job. The ladies and gentleman that worked in the dementia unit that my grandmother was in are angels. Not only do they go to work everyday and take care of our family members when we can’t, but they are also being the residents family.
What we don’t think about is these residents actually live there, it’s their home. These workers do everything in their power to make them feel at home. They know the residents back stories and include their family and favorite things in there daily lives. In the dementia unit I was pleasantly surprised at how many visitors the residents would get, but there was also a bunch of residents that never received a visitor. It seemed like the residents would have regular everyday visitors or none at all. I was a daily visitor and I became very close with the residents and workers in this unit. I knew every resident in the comfort corner by name and tried to make my rounds to everyone when I went. When they closed the doors to visitors it was probably the hardest day of my life. It took 1 of the best parts of my day away. My Grandmother was 94 years old and she was not very good with technology of any sort so it became very difficult to be able to talk to her.
The unit that my grandmother was in was where all of the covid19 patients ended up going, it became the covid19 unit. So the nurses and aides I knew were the ones battling the virus head on. I would call daily, but they only had 1 line and if a resident had the phone sometimes it got left in there room and they would answer and have no clue what to do. I don’t blame this on the staff at all, they definitely did all they could with the resources they had. When I would get through of course grandma would be sleeping or in the shower or something to where she couldn’t talk. The nurses and aides would give me any information they could and would pass messages to my grandmother for me. Going from an everyday visitor and knowing everything that was going on to knowing nothing and all I could do was sit and stare at the building from the parking lot. A parking lot that was normally full would only have 1 car and that was mine. I still found myself driving there everyday and sitting in the parking lot to say a prayer for the residents and workers. When all of this happened I was devastated, I wanted to visit so bad.
On March 31st the Woodlands had their first death due to the coronavirus and that’s when it all got real. I realized I may never get to see my grandmother again and I lost it. I got ahold of the Woodlands and asked them if there was anyway I could do a window visit. They were glad to set this up. We set up a time and a window, they made sure grandma was there on time and phone in hand. Myself, my husband, my daughter, my mom and her girlfriend all stood outside on April 5th and stared up 2 stories to be able to see and talk to my grandma at the same time. Unfortunately that was the last time I got to see my grandma in person, from 2 stories down through a window. I was talking with one of the workers via messenger and was trying to set up another window visit but before we could my grandmother was diagnosed with pneumonia and then the next day tested positive for covid19. The nurses and aides set up a face time for me on April 9th this was the last time I heard my grandmother talk. I got to say I love you, but didn’t think it would be the last time.
On April 13th the nurses and aides knew it was time and faced timed us so that we could say our final goodbyes. This was one of the hardest things not only for me but the nurses and aides that had to sit in there and hold the tablet while we said our goodbyes.
Grandma was on oxygen and not responsive so that made it very hard to see her that way. Not only did they do this for us they also sat with my grandmother in her last moments so she wasn’t alone. I don’t know if you qualify this a heroism, but I most certainly do. This experience opened my eyes as to what a nursing home is really about and what a good nursing home and good staff look like. In the end I could not have asked for a better place for my grandmother to have been. The nurses and aides and even more employees that got moved around in there became the only family and only human contact our family members had and they took it on and did an amazing job. They would take pictures and videos of the residents and post them for family members to see. I also personally friended a few of the nurses and aides on Facebook and any time I had a question they would take care of me. Mind you they couldn’t answer every question I had, but they did tell me what they could and kept my mind at ease the best they could and they would reassure me that they were doing everything they could. I felt like a bother always asking questions and wanting to know how she was doing, but they would always tell me I was fine and would fill me in.
I know many of the nurses and aides would stay after their shift or come in early, work doubles and sacrifice so much of their time into our family members. These nurses and aides and all the workers there deserve so much. They are still fighting up there and have been covid19 free for a while, but with the cases spiking again I’m really worried for them and the residents. I try to draw pictures a nd make cards for them often. My daughter and I still go up a couple times a week and chalk the walk for them. We do things for the residents and the workers to enjoy. I figure I would be up there everyday anyway so I might as well make someone else’s day a little better. They deserve so much more than what I can give them though. So this is my story about my group of heroes. Sorry I rambled quite a bit, but it’s hard to put a year and so many amazing people in a short letter.
What other characteristics has your Hero demonstrated to support this nomination?
Compassion, being real, love, sympathy, empathy, they literally did it all.
Describe the impact of your Hero on a local, regional, national, and/or international level.
They do this daily and we just don’t pay attention to how important these people are. They are our families family when we’re not there. They are there friend and there everything. This is just an amazing group of people trying to keep our family safe and happy. They deserve so much.
Is there anything else about your Hero that you would like the committee to consider?
I still talk to a few of the workers there and they are still fighting this battle. They loved having visitors as much as the residents did and when they locked them down it was so hard for them to get the residents to understand. They work in the dementia unit so that made it that much more difficult.