McKnight's Long-Term Care News, December 2018, Feature 1

One provider is working to ensure that its nursing home residents still feel loved as the number of visitors and guests dramatically decrease while facilities combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

Legacy Healthcare has started a “Letters of Love” program following a new federal mandate that calls on facilities to restrict visitor access during the outbreak. 

The program started as an effort to connect residents, who live in its facilities across four different states, with student pen-pals. It has since been opened to all community members who now may have more time thanks to social distancing and isolation measures. 

“People from all over the country are reaching out to participate,” Legacy Healthcare COO Jamie Dlatt said. “It’s heart-warming to see everyone coming together to bring happiness to our residents.”

The provider noted that the new isolation and visitor guidelines may leave many residents and senior citizens feeling isolated at times. Volunteers must first be matched with a resident in order to participate. Once matched, the program calls on participants to send “Letters of Love” and photos to residents.

The program launched about a week ago and has already matched about 300 residents.

“We want to bring a little bit of extra happiness to our residents during this time,” Dlatt added. “They’re used to seeing their family, friends and volunteers on a daily basis so we really want to make sure they know they’re not alone during this time.”

To participate in the program, people are asked to email [email protected]

The gesture could go a long way for many residents during this troubling time.