Being separated from family and friends is difficult for everyone. It can be especially challenging for residents of nursing and assisted living facilities which must follow the recommended public health measures to keep everyone safe and protected.
Recently, seniors enrolled in the JVS Allied Health Sciences program collaborated with Hospice of the Western Reserve and O’Neill Healthcare in North Ridgeville to let residents of the facility know they are not forgotten. They decided to surprise the residents by painting windows with positive messages and seasonal artwork.
The students participated in a collaborative education series to become trained hospice volunteers for the semester. In previous years, students have worked directly with hospice patients in nursing facilities to improve their quality of life. However, with COVID restrictions, a new approach was needed.
“We met with the students to plan a project that would bring joy and encouragement to our patients and the residents of O’Neill Healthcare in North Ridgeville,” said Michele Gillum, Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteer service manager. “We discussed how isolated they are, and how they must feel. The students wanted to find a way to let residents know they are not forgotten. That’s how the project came to life.”
O’Neill Healthcare and Lorain County JVS pooled resources to purchase the art supplies. The students divided into three teams to develop themes for the memory care unit, assisted living dining area and activities area. They chose positive messages such as “We Love You” as well as seasonal and holiday themes.
“The hospice activity made me feel grateful and happy that we could make someone smile that day,” said senior McKayla Ortiz.
“I felt like we did such a kind act and it probably changed a lot. Kindness changes everything,” added JVS student Michaela O’Donnell.