‘Light at the end of the tunnel:’ Lawrence Hall expands visitation policy

Visitation expands at Lawrence Hall

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. (KAIT) - An area nursing home expanded its visitation policy to allow families to visit their loved ones.

According to a post on the Lawrence Hall Health & Rehabilitation Facebook page, the policy was expanded starting Monday.

“We will begin offering expanded visitation hours to our existing visitation procedures Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. and allow visitors Saturday and Sunday during the same hours,” the post noted. “Families are encouraged to contact our social services department at 870-886-1285 or administration at 870-886-1296 to schedule a visit with your loved one.”

This comes months removed after the facility was COVID-free after 180 cases in three months.

“It seems like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel,” Kelli Sullens, Administrator at Lawrence Hall Health and Rehab said. “Family members want to see their loved ones, and the residents want to see their family members.”

Those at the facility share similar sentiments as Sullens.

“I think that residents are going to be a lot happier,” Nurse Holly Cook said. “They get to see their family a lot longer.”

Cook has been with the residents since the very first COVID-19 case.

“Everybody stayed busy,” Cook said. “We were trying to keep everybody safe and I know that it’s really hard on the family and the residents.”

With expanded hours and with the majority of the facility vaccinated, she hopes this is just another step to get back to normal.

“The residents really need it,” Cook said. “They missed their family. I noticed when all this started and they couldn’t see anybody, their spirits get kind of low. I think everything’s going to look up from now on.”

Officials said they have been working with state health officials in the past few months on the issue and that people can still use phone calls, video calls, or safe distancing if they do not feel comfortable going to the facility.

The facility is still meeting by appointment only for specific time slots in designated locations for up to an hour.

“We can have several visits at one time,” Sullens said. “[There have] been several family members that called and requested to bring new babies in to see our residents. It’s good to hear more people in the halls and to hear the positives from the family members and the residents.”

Lawrence Hall is spacing out visits to clean and disinfect all areas before and after a visit.

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