The residents of Lee County Nursing and Rehab received an early visit from Santa Claus on December fifth of this year. The family of one of our residents, Mrs. Lois Brady – in appreciation for the care she has received here and wanting to do something meaningful for our other residents – put together a wonderful Christmas celebration.
The Brady family arrived with boxes and boxes of very nice Christmas sweaters for our ladies and warm shirts for the gentlemen who live here. Nicely decorated tables were set up in the front lobby and the sweaters and shirts were stacked by size.
Mrs. Brady’s son-in-law, a local pastor, came dressed as Santa. The rest of the family wore reindeer antlers. He had asked his church – New Life Praise Church – to help, and they contributed new Christmas sweaters and warm shirts. It became a project in which the whole church enthusiastically participated.
One by one, our residents were given a hug and some candy by Santa and a sweater or shirt by his reindeer helpers. They also visited those residents who were in their rooms and had been unable to come to the party.
All around there were smiles – residents, staff, the Brady family, and – sitting by a beautifully decorated tree in the middle of the festivities – a very proud Mrs. Lois Brady. Her family’s kindness reflected well on her – demonstrating the kind of parent she has been through many years and many merry Christmas times.
A few months ago, during National Nursing Home Week, our staff and some community volunteers went all out to put on a “Senior Prom” at Lee County Nursing and Rehab. We had a tremendously wonderful time. Though there were beautiful decorations, delicious refreshments, and special entertainment, the most exciting aspect of the prom was in helping our residents to dress up for the formal event. Dozens of prom dresses and dress shirts were donated. A local church group made 25 nice looking black bowties for the men to wear. The rehab department did make up for the ladies.
As the resident’s gathered in the front lobby for the prom, you could clearly see how great our residents felt just from being dressed up – “all gussied up”, as one resident put it.
There were many exciting stories from that night.
One man who seldom talks and rarely gets out of his wheelchair was actually carrying on a conversation and stood to dance with a visiting nursing student. A younger resident who had been feeling down for some time was smiling, beaming, when his guests arrived and saw how nicely he was dressed up. Another man wept and said he hadn’t thought he would ever have a reason to wear his nice suit again until his funeral. He was very happy to be dressing up for our prom.
But our most exciting story from that night is still unfolding.
Senita is a beautiful 49-year old woman who has been minimally responsive and unable to speak for years following a severe stroke. All previous attempts at therapy have been unsuccessful. She has typically remained in her bed or in a geri-chair and she seldom made eye contact.
The night of our prom, she was dressed in a black formal gown with a red shawl and a white rose corsage. Make up had been applied by staff and her hair was nicely done. Her geri-chair was positioned in the center of the prom activities. For the next two hours many people sat with her and she was complimented over and over about how pretty she looked. Senita smiled and smiled and smiled the whole time.
Something wonderful happened.
Within a week or so the nursing staff approached speech therapy to report that Senita was trying to communicate. She was using her voice and rattling off strings of unintelligible words – obviously excited and really trying to talk! Soon Physical Therapy was called in and found that Senita was much more cooperative in transferring out of her bed. She’s upright in a wheelchair every day now, often sitting with other residents in the day room, always smiling. She makes eye contact, listens to conversations, sometimes shaking her head yes and no. Occupational Therapy is also working with her now, providing self- care training – helping Senita to wash her own face, brush her own hair, and more.
And for the first time in over four years, Senita has begun to eat and drink! Speech Therapy is successfully presenting small amounts of puree food and thickened liquids.
This unexpected improvement may very well have been related to Senita’s experience at our “Senior Prom”. It demonstrates the importance of providing enjoyable activities in our skilled nursing facilities. Much more, it demonstrates the power of a re-ignited human spirit.
There is great dignity in dressing nicely and feeling good about how you look. No one expected this event to have such far reaching impact, but we’re very happy that it did.
On May 1, 2012, Lee County Nursing and Rehabilitation held a groundbreaking to celebrate the beginning construction of a new facility, Westfield Rehabilitation and Health Center, in Sanford, NC. The groundbreaking symbolized a promise. Now the staff is witnessing the beginning of a new reality.
The building site is scattered with earth moving equipment, bulldozers, dump trucks, the foreman’s trailer, perimeter fencing, and many construction professionals working hard to deliver on that promise.
Each day, employees, family members, and visitors at Lee County Nursing and Rehab can be heard commenting throughout the day about the latest developments on our property.
“I saw a backhoe digging a big hole today”.
“They’ve cut down some big trees at the back of the lot”.
“I drove past the new building this morning”.
“The lot looks bigger than I expected”.
“This is really happening!”
And everyone is smiling.
The warmth of those smiles can be felt for miles as they look forward to moving in to Westfield Rehabilitation and Health Center.
After years of being told that we would one day have a new building, the promise is beginning to be fulfilled.
On Thursday, April 26th, the formal announcement was made regarding our new facility’s name and location.
As long as we’ve looked forward to this, the occasion called for a party! Many of our nurses, therapists, and other staff members were gathered on the patio on a beautiful spring morning –smiles in abundance. Everyone clapped and cheered as Dennis Reese, our Administrator, formally announced that construction for Westfield Rehabilitation and Health Center was about to begin.
Paul Babinski and Doug Whitman from Liberty Healthcare’s leadership team talked about where we’ve been and where we are going. We have a proud history of serving the healthcare needs of our community. Our new facility will be state of the art and we look forward to making a tremendously positive impact in Sanford for years to come.
Architect’s drawings of the elaborate new facility, blueprints, a map showing the new location (just a couple of miles from our current home), and the new logo were all unveiled. A beautifully decorated cake made the party complete.
With the backdrop of our 50-year old facility, all of this was beyond exciting.
Just one week later another celebration took place on the land where our new facility will soon be built. On May 1, the groundbreaking ceremony took place with several honored guests including the mayor of Sanford and the president of the local Chamber of Commerce.
It was another beautiful day and, again many staff members from Lee County Nursing and Rehab were on hand for the event. Several members of the corporate leadership team were present along with many friends from the healthcare and business community.
These are exciting days at Lee County Nursing and Rehab!
Several staff members participated in the fashion show. The very latest fashions were on display and great fun was had by one and all. The goal of the show was to bring smiles to the faces of our residents and we were abundantly successful in that regard.
After the show, the winners of our annual Valentine’s Sweetheart King and Queen were announced. Mrs. Ionia Gaines and Mr. John Bryant graciously accepted their honorable titles and crowns.
Refreshments followed for residents and staff in a very nicely decorated main dining room.