The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Booker Rest Home in Phase 2 of Governor's long-term plan

Staff works to ease social isolation


September 3, 2020

Courtesy Photo

Elsie Robins was up for some summer fun on July 24 during the bean bag toss.

DAYTON-The separation from family and friends and decreased socialization with each other have been difficult for Booker Rest Home residents since the facility was locked down in March to protect its vulnerable population.

There is now a little light at the end of the tunnel since Governor Jay Inslee announced his Safe Start for Long Term Care Facility Reopening Recommendations and Requirements on Aug. 12.

The good news is the Booker Rest Home is now in Phase 2 of the governor's four-phase approach to reopening, according to Katie Roughton, RN, DNS.

What that means is that if a resident is unable to understand communication technology or is unable to visit outside, he, or she, can choose an Essential Support Person to visit them inside their rooms, for up to an hour, once a day.

Roughton said the Essential Support Person will need to take all precautions, including handwashing and wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including eye protection, which they must provide. PPE is required before entering the facility, and the Essential Support Person must keep out of the main resident care areas, speaking only with the person they are there to see.

Restrictions are also in force for outside visitors, who need to sanitize their hands and wear masks prior to bringing residents out to visit. Only two outside visits can take place at the same time, and social distancing requirements must be met.

Roughton said all visitors to the Booker rest home are required to make an appointment.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, Booker Rest Home staff have been working hard to ease the feelings of isolation by creating fun activities for the residents while adhering to social distancing requirements.

Activities are varied with different themed weeks, including dance-week, where different dances are done each day, and the staff dresses to match the theme. Activities have included a dog show, a 50's party, a summer fun day, outdoor art projects, a visit from a pig, charade games on an iPad, and hallway bingo. Roughton said they have continued outdoor walks, crafts, and playing their favorite dice game, Farkle.

When residents said how much they missed their monthly outings to restaurants, Activities Coordinator Jessica Reger stepped up to bring dining-out in. Every month the residents are able to pick a local restaurant and place their orders for delivery.

"The Booker staff have truly stepped up to bring the residents joy while keeping them safe," Roughton said. "I can't say thank you enough to the great group of people that come to work every day to care for our residents."

Roughton said the governor's phased approach to reopening long-term care facilities details what can be done in each phase for outside appointments, dining, visitors, activities, testing and admissions, screening of employees, vendors, and visitors and residents.

"Phases 1 through 3 are the strictest phases, and Phase 4 is business as usual."

The lower the COVID-19 risk in Columbia County, the faster the Booker Rest Home can return to normal operations. If county risk increases, the facility must be phased down, said Roughton.


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