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What It's Like To Work In A Nursing Home During The Coronavirus


Next, we're going to hear what it's like to work in a nursing home in the era of coronavirus. At the Christian Health Care Center in Lynden, Wash., the only way for family to visit with residents is by phone or video. Heather Lewis is the head nurse.

HEATHER LEWIS: We've also had family members that have come to the outside of the windows. They can't open the windows, but they can use a cellphone.


Of the 100 or so people in her care, none have the coronavirus that she knows of. The facility has radically limited physical contact.

LEWIS: They have to keep their mask and gloves and Tyvek suit on all the time. They can't remove their gloves to touch their loved one. They can't remove their mask to kiss their loved one. And that makes it very difficult. You know, people think about when patients are dying from COVID, but patients - our residents - are also dying from natural causes. But we have to change the way we do things.

MARTIN: But there are ways to show you care that don't involve getting close. Some girls in the town of Lynden brought a newborn calf just outside the nursing home.

LEWIS: Up to the windows of the residents' rooms so they could see the baby calf. And that was really neat, especially when you have so many of these people that that was their life. They raised cows. They had dairy farms and all sorts of farms. And so this is the way of life that they know.

MARTIN: A way of life they hope to glimpse again.

(SOUNDBITE OF KUPLA AND J'SAN'S "RAINDROPS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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