Southeast Mo. nursing home facility welcomes visitors, volunteers

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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CHAFFEE, Mo. (KFVS) - Nursing homes rely on volunteers to interact with their residents to help with various activities and to make a difference in their community.

October is Residents Rights Month for long-term care nursing facilities.

This year’s theme is reclaiming my rights, my home, my life.

Volunteers play a key role in helping residents with various activities, companionship and special events. Missouri nursing homes are beginning to allow volunteers back into their facilities. Because of the pandemic, most volunteers had limited access to residents.

“We rely heavily on our volunteers to come in and help,” said Julie Welker, a director at Chaffee Nursing Center.

Welker said nursing facilities rely on help from the outside.

“Having volunteers is so important,” she said. “It’s always great to have those extra hands on-deck to do various things and help out and the residents enjoy seeing new faces and interacting with new people regularly.”

Welker said volunteers at the facility help residents with activities and social interaction, something that was limited over the past months due to the pandemic.

“It was really hard to have different volunteers coming in and out of the building all the time because we had a very limited number of people that we were allowing in and out just to keep our residents safe,” said Welker.

“A lot of our residents had no interaction in the outside world, due to them not being able to leave family members not being able to visit in doors,” said Activities Director Kristin Hanselman.

Anyone wanting to volunteer must meet several requirements, including being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Hanselman welcomed the return of the volunteers.

“We’re so thankful that things are opening back up again, and we can have that variety of people coming in and out through the building to interact with our patients and our residents,” she said.

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